Pre-operative radiotherapy prolongs survival in operable esophageal carcinoma: a randomized, multicenter study of pre-operative radiotherapy and chemotherapy. The second Scandinavian trial in esophageal cancer.
In a prospective multicenter study, 186 patients with squamous cell esophageal carcinoma, who after evaluation were considered suitable for surgery, were randomized to 4 treatment groups: Group 1, surgery alone; Group 2, pre-operative chemotherapy (cisplatin and bleomycin) and surgery; Group 3, pre-operative irradiation (35 Gy) and surgery; Group 4, pre-operative chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery. Three-year survival was significantly higher in the pooled groups receiving radiotherapy as compared with the pooled groups not receiving radiotherapy. Comparison of the groups having pre-operative chemotherapy with those not having chemotherapy showed no significant difference in survival. Female patients had a significantly better survival than males. The results indicate that pre-operative irradiation had a beneficial effect on intermediate term survival, whereas the chemotherapy regime used did not influence survival.