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Dis Esophagus. 2019 Feb 1;32(2). doi: 10.1093/dote/doy069.

Effects of neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy vs chemotherapy alone on the relief of dysphagia in esophageal cancer patients: secondary endpoint analysis in a randomized trial.

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Division of Surgery, Department of Clinical Science Intervention and Technology, Karolinska Institutet and Department of Upper Abdominal Diseases.
Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery, St. Olavs Hospital, Trondheim University Hospital, Trondheim.
Department of Oncology, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo.
Department of Oncology, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway.
Department of Oncology, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.
Department of Pathology, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.
Surgical Care Science, Department of Molecular medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


Dysphagia is the most significant symptom in patients with esophageal cancer. There are different therapeutic interventions designed to relieve dysphagia, but few studies have addressed the effects of neoadjuvant therapy. The aim of this study is to compare the effects on dysphagia of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (nCT) versus neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (nCRT) and further to study the association between dysphagia response and histological response. Patient reported swallowing function was a secondary endpoint in the NeoRes trial, in which patients were randomized between neoadjuvant chemotherapy or neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy. Patients completed dysphagia questionnaires before the start and after neoadjuvant therapy, using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) esophageal cancer modules QLQ-OES24/OG25. Chirieac tumor regression grade (TRG) was used to assess the histological response. Out of 181 patients were randomized, of whom 87% completed the dysphagia questionnaires before and 73% after neoadjuvant treatment. Patient characteristics were similar between the treatment arms. Among patients reporting dysphagia at baseline, neoadjuvant therapy improved dysphagia in both arms. The mean dysphagia score after neoadjuvant treatment was significantly lower after nCT compared to after nCRT (P = 0.022). The reported dysphagia did not differ between those with a complete histological response (TRG 1) and those without any response at all (TRG 4) (P = 0. 583).


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