Article Abstract

Adjuvant chemotherapy is associated with improved survival in patients with nodal metastases after neoadjuvant therapy and esophagectomy

Authors: Justin Drake, Kurt Tauer, David Portnoy, Benny Weksler

Abstract

Background: Studies supporting adjuvant chemotherapy after complete resection of esophageal cancer are scarce, and current clinical guidelines recommend either adjuvant chemotherapy or observation. We aimed to clarify the role of adjuvant chemotherapy in patients found to have persistent nodal metastases after neoadjuvant chemoradiation and complete resection of esophageal adenocarcinoma.
Methods: We queried the National Cancer Database (NCDB) for all patients from 2006 to 2012 with esophageal adenocarcinoma who received neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy, underwent esophagectomy with complete resection, and were found to have lymph node metastases on final pathology. We compared patients who received adjuvant chemotherapy with patients followed by observation only. After performing propensity-score matching to create a well-balanced cohort, we compared survival using the Kaplan-Meier method.
Results: We identified 2,046 patients with lymph node metastases after neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy and esophagectomy; 295 received adjuvant chemotherapy, and 1,751 did not. The median survival in the unmatched cohort was 2.6 years with adjuvant chemotherapy and 2.1 years with observation only (P=0.0185). Five-year survival was 27.9% with adjuvant chemotherapy and 21.5% with observation only. When we examined survival in a balanced cohort of 295 propensity-matched pairs, median survival was 2.6 years with adjuvant chemotherapy and 2.0 years with observation only (P=0.031). Five-year survival was 27.9% with adjuvant chemotherapy and 20.2% with observation only.
Conclusions: In a large, propensity-matched cohort, adjuvant chemotherapy was associated with significantly improved survival for patients with node-positive esophageal adenocarcinoma after neoadjuvant therapy and complete resection. This finding supports the use of adjuvant therapy for patients with node-positive adenocarcinoma after neoadjuvant therapy and surgery.