Neoadjuvant chemotherapy-induced severe neutropenia is associated with histopathological response and survival in locally advanced gastric cancer

Chaorui Wu, Tongbo Wang, Hong Zhou, Xiaojie Zhang, Chunguang Guo, Yingtai Chen, Dongbing Zhao


Background: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) has been shown to improve the prognosis for patients with locally advanced gastric cancer (LAGC). Neutropenia, a predominant chemotherapy-related adverse event, affects the therapeutic course for NAC.
Methods: Data for 233 patients with LAGC treated with NAC and curative gastrectomy at our center were retrospectively analysed in terms of the relationship between neutropenia and clinicopathological features or outcomes.
Results: NAC-induced neutropenia, NAC-induced severe (grade 3/4) neutropenia (NISN), and a favorable histopathological response (HPR) were observed in 102 (43.8%), 35 (15.0%), and 103 (44.2%) patients, respectively. Together with tumor differentiation, clinical response, and lymphovascular invasion (LVI), and NISN independently predicted a favorable HPR [odds ratio (OR) =4.158, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.762–9.812, P=0.001). Among patients treated with postoperative chemotherapy, NISN independently predicted poor compliance with postoperative chemotherapy (OR 0.364, 95% CI: 0.148–0.894, P=0.028) and thus poor overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS). Among patients treated with preoperative chemotherapy alone, NISN was associated with a tendency towards a better DFS (P=0.116) and independently predicted superior OS (hazard ratio =0.253, 95% CI: 0.077–0.830, P=0.023).
Conclusions: In conclusion, our study revealed a link between NISN, HPR, treatment compliance, and survival. NISN is useful for guiding treatment strategies and predicting prognosis for LAGC patients.