IntroductionConcordance between clinical and pathological staging, as well as the overall survival (OS) benefit associated with neoadjuvant therapy (NAT) remain ill-defined. We sought to determine the impact of staging accuracy and NAT downstaging on OS among patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC).MethodsPatients treated for ICC between 2010 and 2018 were identified using the National Cancer Database. A Bayesian approach was applied to estimate NAT downstaging. OS was assessed relative to staging concordant/overstaged disease treated with upfront surgery, understaged disease treated with upfront surgery, no downstaging, and downstaging after NAT.ResultsAmong 3384 patients, 2904 (85.8%) underwent upfront surgery, whereas 480 (14.2%) received NAT and 85/480 (18.4%) were downstaged. Patients with cT3 (odds ratio [OR] 2.12, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.34-3.34), cN1 (OR 2.47, 95% CI 1.71-3.58) disease, and patients treated at high-volume facilities (OR 1.63, 95% CI 1.13-2.36) were more likely to receive NAT (all p < 0.05). Median OS was 40.1 months (95% CI 38.6-43.4). Patients with cT1-2N1 (NAT: 31.5 months vs. upfront surgery: 22.4 months; p = 0.04) and cT3-4N1 (NAT: 27.8 months vs. upfront surgery: 14.4 months; p = 0.01) disease benefited most from NAT. NAT downstaging decreased the risk of death among patients with cT3-4N1 disease (hazard ratio [HR] 0.35, 95% CI 0.15-0.82). In contrast, understaged patients with cT1-2N0/X (HR 2.15, 95% CI 1.83-2.53) and cT3-4N0/X (HR 1.71, 95% CI 1.06-2.74) disease treated with upfront surgery had increased risk of death.ConclusionsPatients with N1 ICC treated with NAT demonstrated improved OS compared with upfront surgery. Downstaging secondary to NAT conferred survival benefits among patients with cT3-4N1 versus upfront surgery. NAT should be considered in ICC patients with advanced T disease and/or nodal metastases.
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