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Keywords:

  • esophagus;
  • residual carcinoma;
  • chemoradiation;
  • stage;
  • prognosis

Abstract

BACKGROUND

In patients with locoregional carcinoma of the esophagus or esophagogastric junction who underwent preoperative chemoradiation, it is unclear whether survival was better predicted by pretherapy clinical stage or by posttherapy pathologic stage.

METHODS

The authors studied 235 consecutive patients with pretherapy clinical Stage II, III, or IVA (according to American Joint Committee on Cancer criteria) carcinoma of the esophagus or esophagogastric junction who were treated with chemoradiation followed by esophagectomy. Posttherapy cancer status was classified using pathologic stage and semiquantitative assessment of residual carcinoma. Clinicopathologic features, residual carcinoma status, and pretherapy and posttherapy stage were compared with disease-free and overall survival.

RESULTS

Posttherapy pathologic stage was Stage 0 in 29% of patients, Stage I in 11% of patients, Stage II in 34% of patients, Stage III in 20% of patients, and Stage IV in 6% of patients. Cancer downstaging occurred in 56% of patients. In univariate analysis, disease-free and overall survival were predicted by posttherapy pathologic stage (both with P < 0.001), margin status (P = 0.002 and P = 0.01, respectively), extent of residual carcinoma (both with P < 0.001), and downstaging (both with P = 0.001), but not by age, gender, type of cancer, pretherapy clinical stage, or preoperative regimen. However, in multivariate analysis, disease-free and overall survival were independently predicted by posttherapy pathologic stage (both with P = 0.02). Extent of residual carcinoma was a marginally significant predictor of overall survival (P = 0.04).

CONCLUSIONS

Posttherapy pathologic stage was the best available predictor of outcome for patients with locoregional carcinoma of the esophagus or esophagogastric junction who underwent chemoradiation therapy followed by esophagectomy. The findings in the current study supported the concept of downstaging by preoperative therapy. Cancer 2005. © 2005 American Cancer Society.