Early Results with Combined Modality Therapy for Carcinoma of the Esophagus

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Abstract

Since January 1984, 74 patients (61 men, 13 women; age range: 43–76 years) with carcinoma of the esophagus were evaluated. Fifty-two patients had squamous cell carcinoma and 22 patients had adenocarcinoma. Sixty-three patients had preoperative chemotherapy and radiation that consisted of cis-platinum and VP- 16 for squamous cell carcinoma and cis-platinum 5-FU for adenocarcinoma combined with 4500–6000 rads. Thirty-four patients were staged inoperable at the completion of the 4-month treatment regimen. Eleven patients had surgery alone because they refused or were not candidates for the preoperative regimen. Twenty-nine patients completed the combined modality regimen and have had esophagogastrostomy. All patients receiving chemotherapy and radiation demonstrated improved swallowing and a dramatic reduction of tumor mass early in the course of therapy and have been able to maintain oral nutrition without other support in the posttreatment period. Of the 34 patients who had chemotherapy and radiation therapy as palliation, 18 are currently living. One patient died secondary to complications of chemotherapy, another patient died at 9 months of myocardial infarction. The remaining patients died secondary to their disease. Of the 29 patients who had radiation therapy and chemotherapy plus esophagogastrostomy, 25 are alive. There were no operative deaths. One patient died at 9 months of stroke. Three other patients had recurrence and died 1 year after surgery. Of the 11 patients who had surgery alone, two have died of the disease. Of the 29 patients who completed the integrated therapy, 10 had no evidence of residual tumor in the specimen, and in an additional five patients only microscopic foci were evident. These early results are an encouragement to continue the multidiscipline approach to carcinoma of the esophagus in the hope that the quality of life and disease-free interval, as well as ultimate survival, will be enhanced.

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