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Dis Esophagus. 2005;18(2):104-8.

Neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy for esophageal carcinoma.

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Flinders University Department of Surgery, Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, South Australia, Australia.


SUMMARY. Neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy is often administered to patients with esophageal carcinoma in the belief that this will improve survival. However, its role in the management of esophageal carcinoma remains controversial. In this study we evaluated our experience with neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy for the treatment of esophageal carcinoma. The study group was 115 patients who underwent esophagectomies between January 1999 and January 2004. Eighty-nine patients had adenocarcinoma and 26 had squamous cell carcinoma. Fifty-six patients underwent neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (two cycles of cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil with 45 Gy radiation) followed by esophagectomy. The other 59 patients proceeded directly to esophagectomy. Outcomes were determined prospectively, and follow-up was available for all patients. Neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy achieved down-staging of the esophageal cancer in 43%, 43% and 46% of patients, according to T, N and TNM classifications, respectively. Neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy resulted in a complete pathological response in seven (13%) patients. The surgical morbidity rate was 37% (42/115), and in-hospital mortality was 5% (6/115). There were no differences between patients who did and did not undergo neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy in regard to completeness of resection, perioperative mortality and postoperative morbidity. Four-year survival was 33% following neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy, compared with 19% for patients undergoing surgery alone. The administration of neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy in patients with esophageal carcinoma down-staged nearly 50% of tumors, and a complete pathological response occurred in some of these patients. It was not associated with any increase in postoperative morbidity or perioperative mortality. In this non-randomized study, it was also associated with a trend towards a better survival outcome.

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