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May 1997

Is Esophagectomy Following Upfront Chemoradiotherapy Safe and Necessary?

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgery (Drs Kane, Shears, and Ribeiro), Pathology (Dr Clark), and Radiology (Dr Peterson), University of Pittsburgh, and the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Allegheny University (Dr Landreneau), Pittsburgh, Pa; and the Department of Surgery, University of Chicago, Chicago, Ill (Dr Posner).

Arch Surg. 1997;132(5):481-486. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1997.01430290027003

Objective:  To examine the safety and necessity of esophagectomy following upfront chemoradiotherapy (CRT) in patients with potentially resectable esophageal cancer.

Design:  Cohort analytic study during a 4-year period.

Setting:  Tertiary referral center.

Patients:  Thirty-seven patients who completed CRT and underwent esophagectomy as compared with 30 patients who underwent esophagectomy alone without pretreatment during the same period.

Main Outcome Measures:  Resection-related events, perioperative morbidity and mortality, response to CRT, site of residual disease following CRT, and survival of partial responders.

Results:  Patients receiving CRT followed by esophagectomy were similar to patients who underwent esophagectomy alone for operative characteristics, postoperative course, and perioperative morbidity and mortality. Of the 33 patients who achieved an objective response to CRT, 23 had residual tumor in the resection specimen. Of the 18 patients alive with no evidence of disease at a median follow-up of 30 months, 50% had residual tumor following CRT.

Conclusions:  Upfront CRT did not adversely affect resection-related outcome and may facilitate resection by downstaging disease. A considerable number of patients had prolonged survival after esophageal resection despite having residual tumor present following treatment with upfront CRT. Therefore, esophagectomy following upfront CRT can improve locoregional control of disease and should remain a critical component of any multimodality regimen.Arch Surg. 1997;132:481-486

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