Clinical Research Papers:

The influence of neoadjuvant chemotherapy on gastric cancer patients’ postoperative infectious complications: What is the negative role played by the intestinal barrier dysfunction?

Zhiliang Wei, Bin Tan, Shougen Cao, Shanglong Liu, Xiaojie Tan, Zengwu Yao, Na Yin, Jiante Li, Dongfeng Zhang and Yanbing Zhou _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:43376-43388. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.14758

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Zhiliang Wei1,*, Bin Tan2,*, Shougen Cao1, Shanglong Liu1, Xiaojie Tan1, Zengwu Yao3, Na Yin4, Jiante Li1, Dongfeng Zhang5 and Yanbing Zhou1

1 Department of General Surgery, Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University, Qingdao, China

2 Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University, Qingdao, China

3 Department of General Surgery, Yantai Yuhuangding Hospital, Yantai, China

4 Department of Histology and Embryology, Binzhou Medical University, Yantai, China

5 Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, Qingdao University Medical College, Qingdao, China

* These authors have contributed equally to the work

Correspondence to:

Yanbing Zhou, email:

Keywords: neoadjuvant chemotherapy, gastric cancer, postoperative infectious complications, intestinal barrier dysfunction, intestinal microbiology

Received: August 24, 2016 Accepted: January 10, 2017 Published: January 18, 2017


Evidence has shown that neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) is correlated with patients’ overall postoperative complications. But investigations on relationship between NACT and postoperative infectious complications, which is closely linked to intestinal barrier damage, were scanty. Accordingly, 90 patients with advanced gastric cancer were included in this study. The differences in postoperative infectious complications were determined between NACT group in which patients received NACT before surgery and SURG group in which received surgical treatment immediately after diagnosis. The damage of mechanical structure of intestinal barrier was assessed by hematoxylin and eosin staining, transmission electron microscopy, and immunohistochemistry. Mucosal microbiota changes were determined by using a 16S rRNA gene sequencing approach. Results showed that the incidence of postoperative infectious complications were significantly higher in the NACT group. Tight junctions were disrupted, and claudin-1, ZO-1 and occludin were down-regulated in patients with infectious complications in overall compared with those without. And similarly, the patients in the NACT group also showed damaged intestinal barrier compared with those in SURG group. Besides, the total diversity of mucosal related bacteria was decreased and relative abundance of some probiotics, such as Bifidobacterium, Faecalibacterium and Ruminococcus, was reduced in the NACT group as well. In conclusion, our study identifies a higher incidence of postoperative infection in gastric cancer patients who underwent NACT treatment, and these changes might be caused by a significant damage in the intestinal barrier as well as reduced probiotics.

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