The survival of patients with locoregional adenocarcinoma of the esophagus or the esophagogastric junction (EGJ) who receive preoperative chemoradiation is reported to be better among patients who achieve a pathologic complete response than among patients who have residual tumor, including lymph node (LN) metastasis. However, the prognostic significance of the number of LNs with residual metastasis remains unclear.
The authors studied 187 consecutive patients who received chemoradiation followed by an esophagectomy. The number of positive LNs and the size of metastatic tumor in each positive LN were examined with regard to overall survival (OS) and recurrence-free survival (RFS).
A pathologic complete response was achieved by 29% of patients. No LN metastasis (posttherapy pathologic negative LN status [ypN0]) was present in 49% of patients who had residual carcinoma, and LN metastasis (ypN1) was present in 51% of patients. The 5-year OS and 2-year RFS rates achieved by patients who had 1 positive LN (34% and 45%, respectively) were similar to the rates achieved by patients in the ypN0 group (38% [P = 0.84] and 50% [P = 0.77], respectively) but were significantly better than the rates achieved by patients who had ≥ 2 positive LNs (6% [P = 0.02] and 18% [P = 0.01], respectively). The size of metastatic tumor in LNs among patients who had 1 positive LN was a prognostic factor (≥ 4 mm vs. < 4 mm; P = 0.04). In multivariate analysis, OS was better in patients who had 1 LN metastasis among patients in the ypN1 group (P = 0.02) independent of their posttherapy pathologic tumor status.
The current results suggested that the number of LNs with metastasis is an independent prognostic factor in patients with residual adenocarcinoma of the esophagus or the EGJ after preoperative chemoradiation. The authors suggest modification of the tumor-lymph node-metastasis (TNM) staging classification (ypTNM) to include the number of positive LNs in the ypN1 category. Cancer 2006. © 2006 American Cancer Society.