Esophagectomy for esophageal cancer is associated with substantial postoperative morbidity as a result of infectious complications. In a prior phase II study, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) was shown to improve leukocyte function and to reduce infection rates after esophagectomy. The aim of the current randomized, placebo-controlled, multicenter phase III trial was to investigate the clinical efficacy of perioperative G-CSF administration in reducing infection and mortality after esophagectomy for esophageal cancer.Patients and Methods:
One hundred fifty five patients with resectable esophageal cancer were randomly assigned to perioperative G-CSF at standard doses (77 patients) or placebo (76 patients), administered from 2 days before until day 7 after esophagectomy. The G-CSF and placebo groups were comparable as regards age, gender, risk, cancer stage, frequency of neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy, and type of esophagectomy (transthoracic or transhiatal esophageal resection).Results:
Of 155 randomized patients, 153 were eligible for the intention-to-treat analysis. The rate of infection occurring within the first 10 days after esophagectomy was 43.4% (confidence interval 32.8–55.9%) in the placebo and 44.2% (confidence interval 32.1–55.3%) in the G-CSF group (P = 0.927). 30-day mortality amounted to 5.2% in the G-CSF group versus 5.3% in the placebo group (P = 0.985). Similar results were found in the per-protocol analysis.Conclusion:
Perioperative administration of G-CSF failed to reduce postoperative morbidity, infection rate, or mortality in patients with esophageal cancer who underwent esophagectomy.