A Swedish study of chemoradiation in squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus
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This multicenter study describes the development of a chemoradiation protocol for the treatment of non-metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus. Eighty patients were treated with three courses of chemotherapy (cisplatinum and 5-fluorouracil) with concomitant radiotherapy (40 Gy) during the last two courses of chemotherapy. Esophagectomy was performed, when feasible. If no operation was performed, patients were planned to receive a target dose of 64 Gy. Toxicity was mainly attributable to hematological impairment and led to two adjustments of the treatment protocol (addition of filgrastim and lowering of the 5-fluorouracil dose). These changes made it possible to administer the planned treatment in a gradually higher proportion of patients (13/23 [57%] before changes of treatment compared with 30/36 [83%] after changes). Treatment-related mortality was 3.75% (3 patients, associated with leucopenic septicemia after chemotherapy). Fifty-four patients were resected. No per- or postoperative mortality was encountered. The complete response (pathological CR) rate in operated patients was 46% (27/59 patients) after chemoradiation. In the whole series the CR rate (including clinical CR for non-resected patients) was 44%. With a minimum follow-up of 37 months, the 3-year survival for the whole group was 31% compared with 57% for the CR patients. Total 5-year survival thus far (July 1999) is 26%.