Outcomes comparison between neoadjuvant chemotherapy and adjuvant chemotherapy in stage IIIA non-small cell lung cancer patients

Xiaoting Tao, Chongze Yuan, Difan Zheng, Ting Ye, Yunjian Pan, Yawei Zhang, Jiaqing Xiang, Hong Hu, Haiquan Chen, Yihua Sun


Background: A neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NCT) is a feasible second-option other than an adjuvant chemotherapy (ACT); however, no definite conclusions have been drawn about whether or not a NCT is associated with better clinical outcomes for IIIA non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients.
Methods: We reviewed 68 clinical IIIA NSCLC patients who received preoperative chemotherapy (NCT group), and 535 pathological IIIA NSCLC patients who received ACT after surgery (ACT group). After a 1:1 propensity score matching (PSM), we compared the relapse-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS) rates as the long-term clinical outcomes, and hospital stay, surgery duration, postoperative complications as the short-term clinical outcomes. To evaluate the predictive value of the NCT response, we also assessed the response evaluation criteria in solid tumors (RECIST) response to NCT.
Results: There was no significant difference in RFS or OS between the NCT group and ACT group (RFS: P=0.1138; OS: P=0.4234). On multivariate analysis, large cell lung carcinoma (P=0.0264), bilobectomy (P=0.0039) and clinical N2 stage (P=0.0309) were independent predictive factors of a worse OS. Short-term clinical outcomes including the hospital stay and postoperative complications had no statistically distinct difference between the ACT and NCT groups. Meanwhile, the OS of the partial response (PR) patients group was better than the stable disease/progressive disease (SD/PD) (P=0.0205) and ACT (P=0.0442) group, but none of the clinical features we tested was found to be a predictive factor for a PR response.
Conclusions: There was a non-significant difference between the long-term and short-term clinical outcomes of both NCT and ACT. The OS of PR patients was better than SD/PD and ACT, indicating that NCT response acts as a predictor for a higher long-term survival rate.