Chemotherapy and radiation therapy before transhiatal esophagectomy for esophageal carcinoma

Mark B. Orringer, Arlene A. Forastiere, Claudia Perez-Tamayo, Susan Urba, Bonnie J. Takasugi, Judith Bromberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent efforts to improve survival in patients with esophageal carcinoma have combined both systemic and local therapy. From October 1985 to October 1987, 43 patients with local-regional esophageal cancer (adenocarcinoma in 21, squamous cell in 22) were treated with cisplatin, vinblastine, and 5-fluorouracil chemotherapy concurrent with 4,500 cGy radiation therapy for 21 days before transhiatal esophagectomy 3 weeks later. Two patients died of chemotherapy/radiation therapy toxicity. Forty-one completed preoperative chemotherapy/radiation therapy. At operation, 2 patients had incurable metastatic disease; 39 underwent transhiatal esophagectomy. Eleven patients had no residual tumor in the resected specimen for a 27% (11 of 41) pathological complete response rate. Preoperative chemotherapy/radiation therapy resulted in no increased perioperative morbidity as compared with our historical controls. One patient died postoperatively of an unrecognized brain metastasis (2% operative morbidity). At a median follow-up of 27 months, 20 patients (47%) are alive and clinically disease-free and 21 have died, 19 from progression of their carcinoma. The median survival time for all 43 patients is 29 months (Kaplan-Meier estimate), and cumulative survival is 72% at 12 months, 60% at 24 months, and 46% at 36 months. All 11 patients with a complete response are alive at a median follow-up of 36 months, and all are disease-free. The 2-year survival of 60% of this group as compared with 32% in our earlier patients treated with transhiatal esophagectomy alone suggests that intensive combined modality therapy improves survival in these patients. A randomized prospective trial is now in progress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-355
Number of pages8
JournalThe Annals of thoracic surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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