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Prognostic impact of nodal status and lymphovascular invasion in patients undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.

Nodal status is well known to be the most important prognostic factor for esophageal cancer patients, even if they are treated with neoadjuvant therapy. To establish an optimal postoperative adjuvant strategy for patients, we aimed to more accurately predict the prognosis of patients and systemic recurrence by using clinicopathological factors, including nodal status, in patients with esophageal cancer who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy. The clinicopathological factors associated with survival and systemic recurrence were investigated in 488 patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Overall survival differed according to tumor depth, nodal status, tumor regression, and lymphovascular (LV) invasion. In the multivariate analysis, nodal status and LV invasion were identified as independent prognostic factors (P < 0.0001, P = 0.0008). Nodal status was also identified as an independent factor associated with systemic recurrence, although LV invasion was a borderline factor (P = 0.066). In each pN stage, patients with LV invasion showed significantly worse overall survival than those without LV invasion (pN0: P = 0.036, pN1: P = 0.0044, pN2: P = 0.0194, pN3: P = 0.0054). Patients with LV invasion were also more likely to have systemic, and any recurrence than those without LV invasion in each pN stage. Pathological nodal status and LV invasion were the most important predictors of survival and systemic recurrence in patients with esophageal cancer who underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by surgery. This finding could provide useful information about selecting candidates for adjuvant therapy among these patients. Our analysis showed that LV invasion was an independent prognostic factor in patients with esophageal cancer who underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy and that combining LV invasion with pathological nodal status makes it possible to stratify the prognosis in those patients.

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