Esophageal Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Treatment Option Overview
The Japanese Clinical Oncology Group randomly assigned 330 patients with clinical stage II or III, excluding T4, squamous cell carcinomas to receive either two cycles of preoperative cisplatin and 5-FU (fluorouracil) followed by surgery versus surgery followed by postoperative chemotherapy of the same regimen.[Level of evidence: 1iiC] A planned interim analysis was conducted after patient accrual, and although the primary endpoint of PFS was not met, there was a significant benefit in OS among patients treated with preoperative chemotherapy (P = .01). As a result of these findings, the Data and Safety Monitoring Committee recommended early publication.
With a median follow-up of 61 months, the 5-year OS was 55% among patients treated with preoperative chemotherapy compared with 43% among patients treated with postoperative chemotherapy (P = .04). However, there was no significant difference between groups with respect to PFS (5-year PFS, 39% vs. 44%; P = .22). Additionally, there were no significant differences between the two groups with respect to postoperative complications or treatment-related toxicities. Based on these results, preoperative chemotherapy without radiation therapy should still be considered under clinical evaluation.
Two randomized trials have shown no significant OS benefit for postoperative radiation therapy over surgery alone.[24,25][Level of evidence: 1iiA] All newly diagnosed patients should be considered candidates for therapies and clinical trials comparing various treatment modalities.
Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.
Special attention to nutritional support is indicated in any patient undergoing treatment of esophageal cancer. (Refer to the PDQ summary on Nutrition in Cancer Care for more information.)
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