The effect of neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (nCRT) in patients with locally advanced esophageal cancer can be determined by assessing the Becker tumor regression grade in the primary tumor, as well as in lymph nodes.
The aim of this study was to investigate the anatomopathological changes caused by neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy and their impact on clinical parameters. Specifically, we analyzed the Becker tumor regression grade, lymph node status, and regression changes and evaluated their association with the Clavien-Dindo classification of surgical complications and overall patient survival.
This is a retrospective and observational study including 139 patients diagnosed with adenocarcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus and treated with either neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy followed by surgery or surgery alone. For the 94 patients who underwent neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy, we evaluated tumor regression by Becker tumor regression grade in primary tumors. We also analyzed lymph node status and regression changes on lymph nodes with or without metastases. Overall survival analysis was performed using Kaplan-Meier curves.
Becker tumor regression grade is associated with lower lymphatic permeation (p<0.01) and vascular invasion (p<0.001), but not with lymph node regression rate (p=0.10). Clavien-Dindo classification was associated neither with lymph node regression rate (odds ratio=0.784, p=0.795) nor with tumor regression grade (p=0.68). Patients who presented with lymphatic permeation and vascular invasion had statistically significantly lower median survival (17 vs. 30 months, p=0.006 for lymphatic permeation, and 14 vs. 29 months, p=0.024 for vascular invasion).
In our series, we were unable to demonstrate an association between Becker tumor regression grade and lymph node regression rate with any postoperative complications. Patients with lower lymphatic permeation and vascular invasion have higher overall survival, correlating with a better response in the Becker tumor regression grade system.
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