Individual-patient data from 10 studies of chemoradiotherapy for rectal cancer were included. Pooled rates of ypN+ disease were calculated with 95 per cent confidence interval for each ypT category. Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression analyses were undertaken to assess influence of ypN status on 5-year disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS).
The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence of ypN+ status according to ypT category in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer treated with chemoradiotherapy and total mesorectal excision, and to assess the impact of ypN+ on disease recurrence and survival by pooled analysis of individual-patient data.
Risk of nodal metastases (ypN+) after chemoradiotherapy increases with advancing ypT category and needs to be considered if an organ-preserving strategy is contemplated.
Data on 1898 patients were included in the study. Median follow-up was 50 (range 0-219) months. The pooled rate of ypN+ disease was 7 per cent for ypT0, 12 per cent for ypT1, 17 per cent for ypT2, 40 per cent for ypT3, and 46 per cent for ypT4 tumours. Patients with ypN+ disease had lower 5-year DFS and OS (46.2 and 63.4 per cent respectively) than patients with ypN0 tumours (74.5 and 83.2 per cent) (P < 0.001). Cox regression analyses showed ypN+ status to be an independent predictor of recurrence and death.