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Ann Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2006 Aug;12(4):234-41.

Clinical aspects of multimodality therapy for resectable locoregional esophageal cancer.

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Department of Thoracic Surgery, Aichi Cancer Center Hospital, Nagoya, Japan.


Radical resection has been considered the only possible way to save the lives of patients with esophageal cancer. Therefore, tremendous efforts have been made in order to improve the surgical results for resectable locoregional esophageal cancer. Various surgical approaches have been developed. Combination therapies such as neoadjuvant, adjuvant chemotherapy, and neoadjuvant chemoradiation have been extensively investigated in numerous randomized clinical trials. Due to insufficient surgical results and high postoperative mortality rates, definitive chemoradiation has been studied as alternative treatment in selected patients, based on the concept that combined-modality therapy allows simultaneous treatment of locoregional disease and systemic micrometastases. Chemoradiation has shown survival rates equivalent to surgery in some non-randomized comparative studies. Presently, concerns appear to be shifting to the question of whether definitive chemoradiation could be an alternative to surgery in the primary treatment of resectable locoregional esophageal cancer. Recently, 2 randomized trials, comparing definitive chemoradiation with chemoradiation and surgery were published. These trials seem to show at first glance that definitive chemoradiation can achieve results comparable to surgery with neoadjuvant chemoradiation. More sophisticated trials should be conducted as treatment modalities used in these trials are far from routine.

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