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Impact of bulky loco-regional lymphadenopathy in esophageal adenocarcinoma on survival: a retrospective single center analysis.

The relationship between 'bulky' locoregional lymphadenopathy and survival has not been investigated in the setting of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). This study aimed to explore whether bulky regional lymphadenopathy at diagnosis affected survival outcomes in patients with EAC treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy and en bloc resection. A single-center retrospective review of a prospectively maintained upper GI cancer surgical database was performed between January 2012 and December 2019. Patients with locally advanced EAC (cT2-3, N+, M0) treated with neoadjuvant docetaxel-based chemotherapy and transthoracic en bloc esophagogastrectomy were identified. Computed tomography scans from before the initiation of treatment were reviewed, and patients were stratified according to whether bulky loco-regional lymph nodes were present. This was defined as lymphadenopathy >2 cm in any axis. Overall survival was compared, and a Cox multivariate regression model was calculated. Two hundred twenty-five of the eight hundred seventy patients identified met the inclusion criteria. Forty-eight (21%) had bulky lymphadenopathy, leaving 177 allocated to the control group. More patients with bulky lymphadenopathy had ypN3 disease (18/48, 38% vs. 39/177, 20%, P = 0.025). Among patients with bulky lymphadenopathy, overall survival was generally worse (32.6 vs. 59.1 months, P = 0.012). However, among the 9/48 (19%) patients with bulky lymphadenopathy who achieved ypN- status survival outcomes were similar to those with non-bulky lymphadenopathy who also achieved lymph node sterilization. Poor differentiation (HR 1.8, 95% CI 1.0-2.9, P = 0.034), ypN+ (HR 1.9, 95% CI 1.1-3.6, P = 0.032), and bulky lymphadenopathy were independently associated with an increased risk of death (HR 1.7, 1.0-2.9, P = 0.048). Bulky regional lymphadenopathy is associated with a poor prognosis. Efforts to identify the ideal treatment regimen for these patients are urgently required.

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