1. Departments of Radiation Oncology and Chemotherapy, The First Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, China, 32500
2. Department of thoracic surgery, the First Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, China, 325000.
* authors contribute equally
Background: The rates of locoregional and distant recurrence for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) patients underwent radical esophagectomy remain high. The purpose of this study is to explore an optimal postoperative therapeutic modality by investigating the efficacy of various adjuvant therapies in the treatment of ESCC.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 408 ESCC patients underwent thoracic esophagectomy and 3-field lymph node dissection from 2010 to 2015. Patients were classified into surgery alone (Group S), adjuvant chemotherapy (Group CT) and postoperative chemotherapy plus radiotherapy (Group CRT), respectively. Univariate and multivariate Cox regression analyses were used to analyze prognostic factors and survival.
Results: The overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) were similar among groups. Postoperative CT and CRT both were beneficial for patients with positive lymph nodes, particularly for those with 3 or more lymph nodes involvement and metastasis in the middle thoracic segment compared with surgery alone. The 3-year OS and DFS for patients with 3 or more lymph nodes involvement were 30.8%, 53.7%, 50.5% and 19.9%, 41.6%, 34.0% for Group S, CT, and CRT, respectively (p=0.04; p=0.004, respectively). There was no notable difference in OS and DFS between the adjuvant Group CT and CRT (p=0.42; p=0.49, respectively). Postoperative CRT significantly reduced the rates of distant metastasis and overall recurrence for patients with positive lymph nodes (p=0.042; p=0.01, respectively). Number of metastatic lymph nodes, extent of resection, and AJCC stage were independent predictors of survival. Grade 1-2 myelosuppression was experienced significantly more frequently by patients in Group CRT than those in Group CT (P=0.03). Late toxicities were rare and manageable overall.
Conclusions: Postoperative CT and CRT both were associated with better survival for patients with positive lymph nodes, particularly for those with 3 or more lymph nodes involvement and metastasis in the middle thoracic segment. Postoperative CRT was significantly more effective at reducing the rates of distant metastasis and overall recurrence for patients with positive lymph nodes.
Keywords: Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, Chemotherapy, Chemoradiotherapy, Lymph node metastasis, Survival.