New Hope for Esophageal Cancer Patients

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine of 31st A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine of 31st May has given some new interesting observations about esophageal cancer. The study says that patients with the deadly disease have more chances of survival with a combined therapy of radiation and chemotherapy prior to surgery than with only surgery.

The study was performed by a Dutch team of researchers from the Erasmus University of Medical Center of Rotterdam. The neoadjuvant therapy was administered to 366 patients having resectable esophageal cancer or esophagogastric junction cancer. The carcinoma was different in different groups of patients, like 275 had adenocarcinoma, 84 had squamous-cell carcinoma and seven had large-cell undifferentiated carcinoma. These patients were under treatment and observation from 2004 to 2008 out of which 188 had been randomly selected for surgery alone, while 178 were selected for five weeks treatment with paclitaxel and carboplatin along with ongoing radiotherapy, which was followed by surgery.

It was found that 92% patients in the combination of cheomoradiotherapy plus surgery experienced successful resection with no carcinogenic growth within 1 mm of margins of resection. This percentage was reduced to 69 in the only-surgery group. Also in the former group, 29% patients achieved a complete pathological response. Postoperative complications in both the groups were similar, so also was the in-hospital mortality, which was 4%. The median general survival was respectively 49.4 and 24 months in both the groups. Thus it was proved that in the chemoradiotherapy-surgery group the survival rate significantly increased than that in the only-surgery group.

As concluded by the authors of the study article, preoperative chemoradiotherapy which contains five rounds of carboplatin and paclitaxel and 41.4 Gy of simultaneous radiotherapy is safe and offers a remarkable increase in altogether survival among patients with squamous-cell carcinoma or adenocarcinoma of the esophagus or esophagogastric junction.

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