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Ann Thorac Surg. 2006 Aug;82(2):480-4; discussion 484-5.

Downstaging of T or N predicts long-term survival after preoperative chemotherapy and radical resection for esophageal carcinoma.

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Division of Thoracic Surgery, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, New York 10021, USA.



The purposes of this study were to determine the frequency of downstaging of T or N after neoadjuvant chemotherapy and radical resection in patients with carcinoma of the esophagus, and to evaluate the effect of tumor downstaging on survival.


A cohort of patients who underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by radical surgical resection for carcinoma of the esophagus was identified from a large, prospectively maintained, single-institution database of esophageal cancer patients. Patients were included if they had an accurate pretreatment clinical stage determined by the authors. Data collected included demographic data, the type of staging regimen, the chemotherapy agents used, clinical and pathologic data and stages, and survival data. Downstaging of T or N was determined by comparing the pretreatment, clinical stage to the postresection, pathologic stage. Downstaging was then evaluated in the context of survival.


Seventy-seven patients were identified who had an accurate clinical stage assigned and underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by radical resection. Patients were clinically staged before treatment using computed tomography, positron emission tomography, and endoscopic ultrasonography. Thirty-seven patients (48%) experienced downstaging of T or N, and this group of patients had a 5-year overall actuarial survival of 63%, compared with 23% for those who were not downstaged (p = 0.002). Three patients had a complete pathologic response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (3.9%).


Patients who experience downstaging of T or N after neoadjuvant chemotherapy and radical surgical resection for esophageal carcinoma have a significantly higher survival rate compared with those who do not experience downstaging. This enhanced survival is comparable to survival rates reported in complete pathologic responders after neoadjuvant chemoradiation.

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