Objective: This study sought to determine the impact of preoperative chemotherapy and radiation therapy (neoadjuvant therapy) followed by resection in patients with adenocarcinoma of the esophagus. Summary Background Data: Long-term survival in patients with carcinoma of the esophagus has been poor. An increase in the incidence of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus has been reported recently. Methods: Fifty-eight patients with biopsy-proven adenocarcinoma of the esophagus treated at this institution from January 1951 through February 1993 were studied. Since 1989, 24 patients were entered prospectively into a multimodality treatment protocol consisting of preoperative cisplatin, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), and leucovorin with or without etoposide, and concomitant mediastinal radiation (30 Gy). Patients were re-evaluated and offered resection. Results: There were no deaths related to neoadjuvant therapy and toxicity was minimal. Before multimodality therapy was used, the operative mortality rate was 19% (3 of 16 patients). With multimodality therapy, there have been no operative deaths (0 of 23 patients). The median survival time in patients treated before multimodality therapy was 8 months and has yet to be reached for those treated with the neoadjuvant regimen (> 26 months, p < 0.0001). The actuarial survival rate at 24 months was 15% before multimodality therapy and 76% with multimodality therapy. No difference in survival was noted in neoadjuvant protocols with or without etoposide (p = 0.827). Conclusions: Multimodality therapy with preoperative chemotherapy and radiation therapy followed by resection appears to offer a survival advantage to patients with adenocarcinoma of the esophagus.
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