Esophageal cancer (EC) is a common malignant tumor entity with increasing occurrence. The incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma (AC), particularly, is constantly rising in the Western world. The mainstays of therapy with curative intent for EC in advanced stages are neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy (neoRCT) with surgery and definitive radiochemotherapy (defRCT).
We examined our internal files to identify patients suffering from EC. Palliative cases were excluded. Statistical testing was performed by χ2 test, Student’s t test, Kaplan-Meier analyses, and the Mann-Whitney U test.
One hundred and twenty-two cases were included. Histology revealed squamous cell carcinoma in 92 cases and AC in 23 cases. Ninety-five patients underwent defRCT, 27 underwent neoRCT, and 114 (in both therapy regimes) received simultaneous chemotherapy. There was no difference in the overall survival (OS) (p = 0.654; HR 1.145; 95% CI 0.629-2.086) or and progression-free survival (PFS) (p = 0.912) of patients who underwent neoRCT or defRCT. Median OS was 13.5 (2-197) months for defRCT patients and 19.5 (2-134) months for neoRCT patients (p = 0.751). Karnofsky index (KI) with a cut-off of 70% was strongest, but not a significant parameter for OS (p = 0.608) or PFS (p = 0.137).
defRCT is a valid and an equal alternative to neoRCT for patients suffering from EC. Selection of patients for therapy is of crucial relevance. Further studies and improvements in follow-up are needed when neoRCT has been completed before surgery, in order to spare the patient undergoing operative treatment if there is complete remission. The identification of valid markers urgently needed to limit treatment side effects.

© 2020 S. Karger AG, Basel.