BACKGROUND: A phase II intensive neoadjuvant chemo-radiotherapy (nCRT) protocol for esophageal cancer (EC) was previously tested at our Center with promising results. We here present an observational study to evaluate the efficacy of the protocol also in "real life" patients.
METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed 122 ECs (45.1% squamous cell (SCC) and 54.9% adenocarcinoma (ADC)) treated with induction docetaxel, cisplatin, and 5-fluorouracil (TCF), followed by concomitant TCF and radiotherapy (50-50.4 Gy/25-28 fractions), between 2008 and 2017. Primary endpoints were overall survival (OS), event-free survival (EFS) and pathological complete response (pCR).
RESULTS: With a median follow-up of 62.1 months (95% CI 50-67.6 months), 5-year OS and EFS rates were 54.8% (95% CI 44.7-63.9) and 42.7% (95% CI 33.1-51.9), respectively. A pCR was observed in 71.1% of SCC and 37.1% of ADC patients (p = 0.001). At multivariate analysis, ypN+ was a significant prognostic factor for OS (Hazard Ratios (HR) 4.39 [95% CI 2.36-8.18]; p < 0.0001), while pCR was a strong predictor of EFS (HR 0.38 [95% CI 0.22-0.67]; p < 0.0001).
CONCLUSIONS: The nCRT protocol achieved considerable long-term survival and pCR rates also in "real life" patients. Further research is necessary to evaluate this protocol in a watch-and-wait approach.