Pathological Responses of the Primary Tumor and Locoregional Lymph Nodes After Neoadjuvant Immunochemotherapy in Esophageal Squamous Cell Cancer

Shu Jie Huang, Dan Tian, Si Chao Wang, Rui Jie Zeng, Yue Jiao Dong, Liang Li Hong, Han Sheng Wu, Fang Ping Xu, Dong Kun Zhang, Liang Xie, Hai Yu Zhou, Ji Ming Tang, Xiao Song Ben, Gang Chen, Ri Xin Chen, Yong Tang, Gui Bin Qiao


Background: The current study attempted to describe the specific patterns of pathological tumor response and locoregional node metastases from surgically resected esophageal squamous cell carcinoma after neoadjuvant immunochemotherapy (NAIC), as well as to explore the association between clinicopathological characteristics and such oncological patterns.

Methods: Fifty-one patients with cT3 or deeper esophageal squamous cell cancer underwent subtotal esophagectomy after NAIC. The NAIC regimen included intravenous administration of platinum-based and docetaxel- and taxane-based chemotherapeutics along with a 200 mg fixed dose of one programmed death 1 (PD-1) inhibitor, given every 3 weeks. We divided patients into tumor/nodal good-responders and poor-responders based on the pathological observation of the tumor or nodal responses. We also examined the association between clinicopathological factors and tumor/nodal responses. Further, significant baseline predictors for tumor and nodal good-responders were identified using multivariate binary logistic regression.

Results: Of the 51 patients, 68.6% achieved marked primary tumor response. Notably, 21.6% of patients achieved complete pathological response. Significant differences in treatment cycles between tumor good-responders and tumor poor-responders (P = 0.019) were observed. For locoregional nodal responses, only 33.3% of patients achieved down-staged nodal disease. Of the investigated variables, neoadjuvant cycles (odds ratio (OR): 5.271, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.278 - 21.740, P = 0.022) and pretreatment platelets (OR: 0.979, 95% CI: 0.962 - 0.996, P = 0.017) were identified as independent predictors for good tumor and nodal responses.

Conclusions: We conclusively noted that most patients receiving NAIC were tumor good-responders, whereas only one-third of patients were nodal good-responders. Furthermore, we identified that treatment cycle number and baseline platelet counts were independent predictors of combined tumor and nodal responses.

World J Oncol. 2022;13(4):195-204


Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; Neoadjuvant immunochemotherapy; Prediction model; Real-world

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World Journal of Oncology, bimonthly, ISSN 1920-4531 (print), 1920-454X (online), published by Elmer Press Inc.                     
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