The benefit of chemotherapy in esophageal cancer patients with residual disease after trimodality therapy

Grace J. Kim, Matthew Koshy, Alexandra L. Hanlon, M. Naomi Horiba, Martin J. Edelman, Whitney M. Burrows, Richard J. Battafarano, Mohan Suntharalingam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Introduction: The objective of this retrospective study was to determine the potential benefits of chemotherapy in esophageal cancer patients treated with chemoradiation followed by surgery. Materials and Methods: At our institution, 145 patients completed trimodality therapy from 1993 to 2009. Neoadjuvant treatment predominantly consisted of 5-fluorouracil and cisplatin with a concurrent median radiation dose of 50.4 Gy. Sixty-two patients received chemotherapy postoperatively. The majority (49/62) received 3 cycles of docetaxel. Results: Within the entire cohort, a 5-year overall survival (OS) benefit was found in those who received postoperative chemotherapy, OS 37.1% versus 18.0% (P = 0.024). The response after neoadjuvant chemoradiation was as follows: 33.8% had a pathologic complete response and 62.8% with residual disease. A 5-year OS and causespecific survival (CSS) advantage were associated with postoperative chemotherapy among those with macroscopic residual disease after neoadjuvant therapy: OS 38.7% versus 13.9% (P = 0.016), CSS 42.8% versus 18.8% (P = 0.048). This benefit was not seen in those with a pathologic complete response or those with microscopic residual. A stepwise multivariate Cox regression model evaluating the partial response group revealed that postoperative chemotherapy and M stage were independent predictors of overall and CSS. Conclusions: This analysis revealed that patients with gross residual disease after trimodality therapy for esophageal cancer who received postoperative chemotherapy had an improved overall and CSS. These data suggest that patients with residual disease after trimodality therapy and a reasonable performance status may benefit from postoperative chemotherapy. Prospective trials are needed to confirm these results to define the role of postoperative treatment after trimodality therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-141
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Oncology: Cancer Clinical Trials
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Docetaxel
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Pathologic response
  • Postoperative chemotherapy
  • Trimodality therapy


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