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Short-term Outcomes in Patients with Carcinoma of the Esophagus and Gastroesophageal Junction Receiving Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy or Chemoradiation before Surgery. A Prospective Study

Syed Nusrath, Subramanyeshwar Rao Thammineedi, K. V. Vijaya Narsimha Raju, Sujit Chyau Patnaik, Satish Pawar, Ayyagari Santa, Senthil J. Rajappa, Krishna Mohan Mallavarapu, Krishnam Raju, and Sudha Murthy


Background: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) and neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (NACRT) have been demonstrated to improve survival compared to surgery alone in esophageal carcinoma, but the evidence is scarce on which of these therapies is more beneficial, particularly with regard to resectability rates, postoperative morbidity and mortality, and histological responses. Objective: This study compares the resectability, pathological response rates, and short-term surgical outcomes in patients with carcinoma of the esophagus or gastroesophageal junction receiving NACT or NACRT prior to surgery. Methods: Patients with resectable carcinoma of the esophagus or gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and adenosquamous histologies were enrolled in this well-matched prospective non-randomized study. Thirty-five patients were given NACT, and 35 NACRT. In the NACT group, 25 patients received three cycles of three-weekly carboplatin and paclitaxel, and 10 received three cycles of cisplatin/5-fluorouracil, while all the patients in the NACRT group received 41.4 Gy of radiotherapy concomitant with five cycles of weekly paclitaxel and carboplatin-based chemotherapy. Results: Twenty-two patients in the NACT group and 33 patients in NACRT group had resection (P value = 0.0027). The percentage of microscopically margin-negative resection (R0 resection) was similar in both the groups (86% versus 88%). The incidences of surgical and non-surgical complications were similar in both the groups (P=0.34). There was no 30-day mortality. There was a trend toward more pathological complete regression in the NACRT group (P=0.067). The percentage of patients achieving complete tumor regression at the primary site (pT0) was significantly higher in the NACRT group. The down-staging effect on nodal status was similar in both the groups (P=0.55). There was a statistically significant reduction in tumor size in the NACRT group. The median numbers of nodes harvested and positive nodes were similar in both the groups. Conclusion: Patients receiving NACRT had better resectability rates and pathological response rates, but similar postoperative morbidity compared to the NACT group.