Adjuvant Therapy for Patients with a Tumor-Positive Resection Margin After Neoadjuvant Chemoradiotherapy and Esophagectomy

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Abstract

Background: 

Approximately 4–9% of patients have a tumor-positive resection margin after neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (nCRT) and esophagectomy. Although it is associated with decreased survival, Western guidelines do not recommend adjuvant treatment. 

Objective: 

The aim of this study was to assess the proportion of patients who received adjuvant therapy, and to evaluate overall survival (OS) after esophagectomy in patients with a tumor-positive resection margin. 

Methods: 

Patients diagnosed with resectable (cT2-4a/cTxN0-3/NxM0) esophageal cancer between 2015 and 2022, and treated with nCRT followed by irradical esophagectomy, were selected from the Netherlands Cancer Registry. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients with a tumor-positive resection margin who started adjuvant treatment ≤16 weeks after esophagectomy, including chemotherapy/radiotherapy, immunotherapy, or targeted therapy. OS was calculated from the date of surgery until the date of death or last day of follow-up. 

Results: 

Overall, 376 patients were included in our study, of whom 357 were treated with nCRT. Of these 357 patients, 98.3% had a microscopically irradical resection and 1.7% had a macroscopically irradical resection. Approximately 72.3% of tumors showed a partial response (Mandard 2–3) and 11.8% showed little/no pathological response (Mandard 4–5) to nCRT. One of 357 patients underwent adjuvant chemoradiotherapy and 39 patients (61%) underwent adjuvant immunotherapy (nivolumab). The median and 5-year OS rate of all patients was 16.4 months (95% confidence interval 13.1–19.8) and 21%, respectively. 

Conclusion: 

Real-world population-level data showed that no patients with a tumor-positive resection margin underwent adjuvant therapy following nCRT and esophagectomy prior to 2021. Interestingly, 61% of patients were treated with adjuvant nivolumab in 2021–2022. OS after irradical esophagectomy is poor and long-term data will explore the added value of nivolumab.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of Surgical Oncology
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024, The Author(s).

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