Background The value of adjuvant chemotherapy for patients with positive lymph nodes (+LNs) after induction therapy and resection of esophageal cancer is controversial. This study assesses survival benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy in this cohort. Methods We analyzed our single-institution database for patients with +LNs after induction therapy and resection of primary esophageal cancer between 2000 and 2013. Factors associated with survival were analyzed using a Cox proportional hazards model. Results A total of 101 of 764 esophagectomy patients received induction and had +LNs on final pathologic examination. Forty-five also received adjuvant therapy: 37 of 45 (82%) received chemotherapy alone, 1 of 45 (2%) received radiation alone, and 7 of 45 (16%) received both. Pathologic stage was IIB in 21 (47%), IIIA in 19 (42%), and IIIB in 5 (11%). In 56 node-positive patients with induction but not adjuvant therapy, pathologic stage was IIB in 28 (50%), IIIA in 18 (32%), IIIB in 7 (13%), and IIIC in 3 (5%). Neither age nor comorbidity score differed between cohorts. Adjuvant patients experienced a shorter hospital length of stay (mean, 10 days [range, 6 to 33 days] versus 11 days [range, 7 to 67 days]; p = 0.03]. Median survival favored the adjuvant group: 24.0 months (95% confidence interval, 16.6 to 32.2 months) versus 18.0 months (95% confidence interval, 11.1 to 25.0 months); p = 0.033). Multivariate Cox regression identified adjuvant therapy, length of stay, and number of +LNs as influential for survival. Conclusions Optimal management of node-positive patients after induction therapy and esophagectomy remains unclear, but in this series, adjuvant therapy, length of stay, and number of +LNs impacted survival. A prospective trial may reduce potential bias and guide the evaluation of adjuvant therapy in this patient population.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine