BACKGROUND - Patients with localized esophageal carcinoma often develop locoregional and distant disease recurrence. The current study investigated the outcome of a new chemotherapy combination as induction therapy before chemoradiotherapy.
METHODS - Forty-three patients with resectable carcinoma of the esophagus or gastroesophageal junction were enrolled. Most of the tumors were endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS) (EUS)T3 (84%) and (EUS)N1 (63%). The patients received < or = 2 6-week cycles of CPT-11 and cisplatin followed by chemoradiotherapy (45 grays with 5-fluorouracil and paclitaxel). Five to six weeks after chemoradiotherapy, the patients underwent staging and surgery. The feasibility, curative resection rates, overall and disease-free survival rates, rate of significant pathologic response, and patterns of disease recurrence were assessed.
RESULTS - Of the 43 patients, 39 (91%) underwent an R0 resection. Two patients (5%) died after surgery. A pathologic complete response (pathCR) was observed in 11 (28%) of the 39 patients (or 26% of the 43 patients). In addition, 16 patients (41% of 39 patients or 37% of 43 patients) had < 10% viable tumor in the surgical specimen (pathPR). A comparison of endoscopic ultrasonograpy T and N classifications with surgical T and N classifications demonstrated significant down-staging (P < 0.01). The median survival period of all 43 patients was 22.1 months. Patients who had achieved a pathCR or pathPR had a longer median survival (25.6 months) than those who achieved less than a pathPR (18.5 months; P = 0.52). None of the clinical parameters examined were found to correlate with survival or pathologic response.
CONCLUSIONS - CPT-11-based induction chemotherapy resulted in substantial pathCR and pathPR rates, both of which lead to a favorable survival outcome. The three-step strategy needs to be developed further, with the investigation of targeted therapies with chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Copyright 2004 American Cancer Society.