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Use of oesophagogastroscopy to assess the response of oesophageal carcinoma to neoadjuvant therapy. BJS 2004; 91: 199-204.

Published: 24th December 2003

Authors: W. A. Brown, J. Thomas, D. Gotley, B. H. Burmeister, K.‐H. Lim, I. Martin et al.

Background

Approximately 25 per cent of patients with oesophageal cancer who undergo neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy have no evidence of tumour in the resected specimen (complete pathological response). Those who do not respond have a poor 5‐year survival compared with complete responders, regardless of whether or not they undergo surgery. Selecting for surgery only those who have a response to neoadjuvant therapy has the potential to improve overall survival as well as to rationalize the management of non‐responders. This study assessed the accuracy of oesophagogastroscopy in this setting.

Method

A prospective database of 804 patients undergoing oesophageal resection for carcinoma was reviewed. Endoscopic assessment of the response to neoadjuvant therapy in 100 consecutive patients was compared with the pathological assessment of response. The survival for each level of response was compared.

Results

At endoscopy 30 patients were considered to have had a complete response. This was confirmed pathologically in 15 patients. Survival was improved in those with a pathologically confirmed complete response (3‐year survival rate 62·4 (s.e. 12·9) per cent) compared with non‐responders (16·3 (s.e. 6·6) per cent). Those with microscopic residual disease also had an improved 3‐year survival rate (46·3 (s.e. 12·2) per cent); however, oesophagogastroscopy failed to identify this subset.

Conclusion

Oesophagogastroscopy may be useful in the assessment of tumour response to neoadjuvant therapy. However, owing to its poor accuracy patients should not be excluded from further therapeutic intervention on the basis of this assessment alone. Copyright © 2003 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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