Histopathologic regression following neoadjuvant treatment (NT) of oesophageal cancer is a prognostic factor of survival, but the nodal status is not considered. Here, a score combining both to improve prediction of survival after neoadjuvant therapy is developed.
Seven hundred and fifteen patients with oesophageal squamous cell (SCC) or adenocarcinoma (AC) undergoing NT and esophagectomy were analysed. Histopathologic response was classified according to percentage of vital residual tumour cells (VRTC): complete response (CR) without VRTC, major response with <10% VRTC, minor response with >10% VRTC. Nodal stage was classified as ypN0 and ypN+. Kaplan–Meier and Cox regression were used for survival analysis.
Survival analysis identified three groups with significantly different mortality risks: (1) low-risk group for CR (ypT0N0) with 72% 5-year overall survival (5y-OS), (2) intermediate-risk group for minor/major responders and ypN0 with 59% 5y-OS, and (3) high-risk group for minor/major responders and ypN+ with 20% 5y-OS (p < 0.001). Median survival in AC and SCC cohorts were comparable (3.8 (CI 95%: 3.1, 5.3) vs. 4.6 years (CI 95%: 3.3, not reached), p = 0.3).
Histopathologic regression and nodal status should be combined for estimating AC and SCC prognosis. Poor survival in the high-risk group highlights need for adjuvant therapy.
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Damanakis, A.I., Gebauer, F., Stapper, A. et al. Combined regression score predicts outcome after neoadjuvant treatment of oesophageal cancer. Br J Cancer 128, 2025–2035 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41416-023-02232-y