Oesophageal cancer treatment: Studies, strategies and facts

A. Wobst, R. A. Audisio, M. Colleoni, J. G. Geraghty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Esophageal cancer is among the ten most frequent cancers in the world. Once diagnosis is established prognosis is poor with five-year survival rates below 10%. Over the last few years, the evidence - base for treatment of oesophageal cancer has changed with the publication of several important articles in this field. This article reviews these and other relevant publications with focus on current evidence which holds potential for an improvement in survival in oesophageal cancer patients. Prevention and early detection represent the mainstay in the ongoing struggle to improve prognosis, which is most stringently linked to tumor stage. Other efforts have been dedicated to optimise surgical treatment, radiotherapy and chemotherapy and to discover the most efficient combinations of these treatment modalities. Strong but not unanimous evidence in favour of a multimodality approach with chemoradiotherapy followed by surgery has accumulated in recent years, and confirmatory trials are presently ongoing. A pathological complete response to chemoradiotherapy has been identified to significantly enhance survival. Among the strategies to achieve higher response rates, variations in the administration of the most commonly used drugs rather than higher drug and radiation dosages seem promising. Occult lymphatic spread has been recognised as a major source of recurrence and has been successfully targeted by three field surgical dissection and extended field radiotherapy. In search of the optimal treatment for patients with oesophageal cancer, a variety of different tracks are being pursued. This review outlines and analyses current treatment approaches and investigates how recent advances may impact on patient management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)951-962
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1998


  • Barrett's oesophagus
  • Multimodality treatment
  • Oesophageal cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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