SAN FRANCISCO – Five-year survival rates for 41 patients with locoregionally advanced esophageal cancer who underwent induction chemotherapy and definitive chemoradiotherapy were 53% for patients with a clinical complete response who avoided surgery, 33% for patients with suspected residual disease, and 41% for patients with suspected residual disease who were able to undergo surgery.
The multicenter phase II Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) 0246 trial suggests that the organ-preserving strategy of selective esophageal resection after definitive chemoradiation can be an effective approach, Dr. Stephen Swisher said at the annual Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
Forty-one of the 43 patients enrolled with nonmetastatic resectable esophageal cancer had enough data to be included in the final analysis. Thirty-seven patients completed both induction chemotherapy and definitive chemoradiotherapy. Four patients died from problems associated with treatment (10%), two related to induction chemotherapy, one related to chemoradiation, and one related to surgery.
The overall 5-year survival rate after a median follow-up of 6.7 years was 37% in an intention-to-treat analysis, which is similar to results of trials of other treatment modalities for locoregionally advanced esophageal cancer, he said. Patients with a clinical complete response to chemoradiotherapy had a median survival of 66 months, compared with 15 months for all patients with suspected residual disease and 36 months for patients with suspected residual disease who were able to undergo surgery, reported Dr. Swisher of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, and his associates.
During enrollment in 2003-2006, 15 patients came from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center; 18 other sites contributed 1-3 patients each. Twenty-nine patients had adenocarcinomas (73%). Pretreatment clinical stages were T3 or greater in 31 patients (76%) and N1 in 29 patients (71%).
All underwent two cycles of induction chemotherapy with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), cisplatin, and paclitaxel, followed by concurrent chemoradiation and daily 5-FU with cisplatin over the first 5 days.
After definitive chemoradiation, patients underwent chest and abdominal imaging to look for residual locoregional disease using CT scans, esophageal ultrasound, and optional PET scans. Those with no suspected residual disease were observed and monitored for recurrence every 3 months for the first 6 months, then every 6 months for the next 18 months, and then yearly. Patients with suspected residual disease were considered for immediate surgery.
Ultimately, 21 patients (51% of the total) underwent surgery: 17 had selective esophagectomies due to suspected residual cancer; 1 patient with a clinical complete response after chemoradiotherapy requested surgery; and 3 patients who were thought to have clinical complete responses underwent salvage esophagectomies due to recurrent cancer 5-15 months after chemoradiotherapy.
Besides the 17 patients with suspected residual cancer who underwent surgery, 4 others with a noncomplete response to chemoradiotherapy did not have esophagectomies because of metastatic disease in 3 patients and inoperable local disease in 1 patient.
The investigators previously reported preliminary results showing an overall 1-year survival rate of 71% in the study.
The meeting was cosponsored by ASCO, the American Gastroenterological Association Institute, the American Society for Radiation Oncology, and the Society of Surgical Oncology.
Dr. Swisher reported having no financial disclosures.
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