Article Abstract

Long-term outcomes in patients with ypT0 rectal cancer after neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy and curative resection

Authors: Zhao Lu, Pu Cheng, Fu Yang, Zhaoxu Zheng, Xishan Wang


Objective: For patients with locally advanced rectal cancer treated with neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (NCRT), significant pathological response of the primary tumor has been proposed to identify candidates for organ preservation. However, this does not address metastatic lymph nodes in the mesorectum. The aim of this study was to assess the incidence of lymph node metastases in ypT0 patients treated with NCRT and curative resection and to explore risk factors associated with survival.
Methods: This was a retrospective study of patients with ypT0 rectal cancer after NCRT and curative resection at a tertiary care center in China from 2005 to 2014.
Results: A total of 60 (18.6%) patients who underwent surgery after NCRT and achieved ypT0 were enrolled in this study; one patient was excluded owing to lack of follow-up. Of these 59 patients, lymph node metastases were found in the mesorectum (ypT0N+) in eight (13.6%) patients. After a median follow-up of 52 months, 5-year recurrence-free survival (82.7% vs. 62.5%, P=0.014) and overall survival (OS) (90.9% vs. 70.0%, P=0.032) were much higher in ypN0 than ypN+ patients. Multivariate analyses showed that ypN+ status (P=0.009) and perioperative blood transfusion (BT) (P=0.001) were significantly independent risk factors associated with recurrence; however, no factor was correlated with 5-year OS.
Conclusions: Patients with ypT0N0 rectal cancer can achieve excellent long-term outcomes; however, positive lymph nodes or tumor deposits can still be found in 13.6% of ypT0 patients. Nodal positivity in the mesorectum and perioperative BT are independent risk factors for recurrence.

Keywords: Rectal cancer; neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy; pathological response; lymph node; risk factor