Neoadjuvant chemotherapy may not benefit esophageal squamous cell carcinoma patients treated with definitive chemoradiotherapy

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Abstract

Background To assess the efficacy of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) patients treated with definitive chemoradiotherapy (CRT). Methods The clinical data of patients with ESCC treated with chemoradiotherapy with or without NAC were collected and retrospectively reviewed. The overall survival, locoregional failure-free survival, and distant failure-free survival were analyzed statistically. Results A total of 60 patients fulfilled the inclusion criteria, of which 41 were treated with NAC-CRT and 19 were treated with CRT-alone. Patient characteristics were well balanced between the NAC-CRT and CRT-alone groups, except for the ECOG scores. The tumor response to NAC included 11 patients (26.8%) with partial response (PR), 25 patients (61.0%) with stable disease (SD), 5 patients (12.2%) with progression disease (PD), and no patients with complete response (CR). After CRT, 21 patients achieved CR (14 after NAC-CRT and 7 after CRT-alone), 30 had PR (19 and 11, respectively), 6 maintained SD (5 and 1, respectively), and 3 patients (all in the NAC-CRT group) developed PD. Twenty-nine patients (18 in NAC-CRT and 11 in CRT-alone) succumbed to the disease from locoregional or distant failure, one patient in the NAC-CRT group died of radiation pneumonitis, one patient in the CRT-alone group died from unknown reasons, and 29 patients remained alive. The overall survival, locoregional failure-free survival, and distant failure-free survival at 1 and 2 years in all the patients were 64.9% and 40.5%, 58.6% and 52.0%, and 85.7% and 79.3%, respectively. The overall survival, locoregional failure-free survival, and distant failure-free survival between the NAC-CRT group and the CRT-alone group were not significantly different. Conclusion In patients with ESCC treated with definitive CRT, NAC treatment using the current regimen does not prolong overall survival, locoregional failure-free survival or distant failure-free survival. Further development of NAC treatment is urgently needed.

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Chen, M. Q., Lin, Q. L., Chen, Y. G., Guo, J. H., Xu, B. H., & Tian, Y. (2017). Neoadjuvant chemotherapy may not benefit esophageal squamous cell carcinoma patients treated with definitive chemoradiotherapy. Journal of the Chinese Medical Association, 80(10), 636–643. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcma.2017.06.014

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