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Dig Surg. 2013;30(2):112-8. doi: 10.1159/000350935. Epub 2013 Jul 18.

(Neo)-adjuvant chemo(-radio) therapy for adenocarcinomas of the gastroesophageal junction and the stomach in the West.

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  • 1Department of Oncology/Hematology and Center of Palliative Care, Kliniken Essen-Mitte, DE-45136 Essen, Germany.


Worldwide, the treatment of adenocarcinomas of the gastroesophageal junction and stomach has changed over the past decades. It is no longer surgery alone. Nowadays, most patients undergo surgery plus pre- and/or postoperative therapies. However, there are still marked differences in surgical procedures between the East and the West which might influence the surgical prognosis and thereby also the choice of perioperative treatment strategies. In the East, with its more extended surgical procedures, including standard D2 dissections, the current treatment philosophy is primary surgery followed by adjuvant chemotherapy. Neoadjuvant approaches are restricted to really advanced tumors, and perioperative chemoradiation is not routinely used (at least to date). This clearly differs from treatment strategies currently recommended in Western countries. In Europe and North America, pre- plus postoperative chemotherapy has become the recommended treatment for locally more advanced tumors, and preoperative chemoradiation is increasingly administered to patients with adenocarcinomas of the gastroesophageal junction (Siewert type I/II). However, the role of postoperative chemotherapy (despite its increasing use) is still under discussion in the West (especially Europe) and not generally recommended/accepted as a standard treatment. Postoperative chemoradiation, which is one standard treatment in North America, is only regarded as a treatment option for patients after 'inadequate surgery' (i.e. <D2 dissection) in many European countries.

Copyright © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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