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J Clin Oncol. 1990 Jan;8(1):119-27.

Concurrent chemotherapy and radiation therapy followed by transhiatal esophagectomy for local-regional cancer of the esophagus.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor.


Forty-three patients with local-regional squamous-cell carcinoma of the esophagus or adenocarcinoma of the esophagus, cardia, or gastroesophageal junction were treated with concurrent cisplatin, vinblastine, fluorouracil (5-FU), and radiation therapy (RT) over 21 days. A transhiatal esophagectomy (THE) was planned on day 42. Seventy-nine percent had T2 primaries by clinical staging and 56% had enlarged regional nodes (N) on computed tomographic (CT) scan. Forty-one patients completed the preoperative treatment and went to surgery (95% operability rate), and 36 (84%) were completely resected. Ten of the 41 operative candidates had no evidence of tumor in the resected esophagus and nodal tissue (tumor0 node0; T0N0), 24% complete response (CR). Myelosuppression was the major toxicity with grade 3 or 4 leukopenia in 93% of patients and two preoperative treatment-related deaths. At a median follow-up of 26 months, the median survival time (MST) of all 43 patients registered on study has not been reached. The MST of the 36 completely resected patients and the 10 complete responders has not been reached; 70% and 100%, respectively, are alive at 24 months. The MST by histology is 21 months for the 22 squamous patients and has not been reached for the 21 adenocarcinoma patients registered on study. In a prognostic factor analysis, clinical N status, histology, and the percent of cisplatin and vinblastine tolerated were significant predictors for survival. These survival results suggest a significant improvement over the 14-month MST observed in our previous trial using preoperative chemotherapy only in a similar patient population, and a 12-month MST in a historic control group undergoing THE. A randomized trial is now in progress to convincingly determine if survival is prolonged by this therapy.

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