For patients with esophageal cancer, status of lymph nodes after preoperative therapy determines survival
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SAN DIEGO – May 1, 2018 – According to a new study, the status of lymph nodes rather than the status of the primary tumor following preoperative neoadjuvant chemotherapy or chemoradiation therapy is the most important factor that determines whether patients with locally advanced esophageal cancer will survive. The study presented at the American Association for Thoracic Surgery’s 98th Annual Meeting indicates that while preoperative chemotherapy and radiation therapy improve the survival of patients with esophageal cancer, patients with malignant lymph nodes following therapy were less likely to survive than patients with no cancer in the lymph nodes.

Nearly half a million patients worldwide are diagnosed with esophageal cancer each year, and its incidence has doubled in the US in the last 20 years. The combination of chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy followed by surgery with negative margins offers the best chance for long-term survival for patients with locally advanced esophageal adenocarcinoma. Preoperative neoadjuvant therapy – chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy before surgery – is frequently administered. Importantly, the tumor’s response to this initial treatment has the potential to help guide further therapy.

“There is a clear benefit associated with esophagectomy as part of a multimodal treatment strategy, along

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