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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2012 Oct;42(4):659-64. doi: 10.1093/ejcts/ezs105. Epub 2012 Apr 4.

Worldwide Oesophageal Cancer Collaboration guidelines for lymphadenectomy predict survival following neoadjuvant therapy.

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Division of Thoracic Surgery, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York 10021, USA.



The Worldwide Oesophageal Cancer Collaboration (WECC) reported recommendations regarding the optimum number of lymph nodes to be removed during oesophagectomy based upon patients undergoing surgery alone. We sought to determine whether these recommendations are relevant in the case of oesophageal cancer (EC) patients receiving neoadjuvant therapy.


Patients undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by transthoracic en bloc oesophagectomy were reviewed. Patients were grouped by optimal versus suboptimal lymphadenectomy per WECC recommendations (pTis/T0/T1 ≥ 10; pT2 ≥ 20; pT3/T4 ≥ 30). Cohorts were compared for factors predicting optimal lymphadenectomy and for overall survival (OS).


During the time period, 135 patients (adeno = 100, squamous = 35) met the study criteria, of whom 94 patients (70%) had optimal lymphadenectomy. Optimal lymphadenectomy was more likely for tumours with lower ypT (P ≤ 0.001). Optimal lymphadenectomy predicted the OS (0.50, confidence intervals 0.29-0.85, P = 0.011), although it was collinear with ypT classification, which was also predictive. Patients not down-staged in ypT (n = 66, 49%) particularly experienced a trend towards improved 3-year survival with optimal lymphadenectomy (51 versus 29%, P = 0.144). Similarly, of patients with persistent nodal disease (n = 79, 59%), those who had optimal lymphadenectomy (n = 51) experienced improved 3-year OS compared with those with suboptimal lymphadenectomy (n = 28), (55 versus 36%, P = 0.087).


WECC recommendations regarding lymphadenectomy for EC may be applicable to patients undergoing oesophagectomy following neoadjuvant therapy, particularly those who are not down-staged by pathological tumour depth (T) classification and those with persistent nodal metastases. Techniques to enhance the extent of LAN should be pursued in this patient population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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