J Clin Oncol 2007 Apr 1
Chemoradiation followed by surgery compared with chemoradiation alone in squamous cancer of the esophagus: FFCD 9102.   
Uncontrolled studies suggest that chemoradiation has similar efficacy as surgery for esophageal cancer. Therefore, a randomized trial was carried out to compare, in responders only, chemoradiation alone with chemoradiation followed by surgery in patients with locally advanced tumors.
Eligible patients had operable T3N0-1M0 thoracic esophageal cancer. Patients received two cycles of fluorouracil (FU) and cisplatin (days 1 to 5 and 22 to 26) and either conventional (46 Gy in 4.5 weeks) or split-course (15 Gy, days 1 to 5 and 22 to 26) concomitant radiotherapy. Patients with response and no contraindication to either treatment were randomly assigned to surgery (arm A) or continuation of chemoradiation (arm B; three cycles of FU/cisplatin and either conventional [20 Gy] or split-course [15 Gy] radiotherapy). Chemoradiation was considered equivalent to surgery if the difference in 2-year survival rate was less than 10%.
Of 444 eligible patients, 259 were randomly assigned; 230 patients (88.8%) had epidermoid cancer, and 29 (11.2%) had glandular carcinoma. Two-year survival rate was 34% in arm A versus 40% in arm B (hazard ratio for arm B v arm A = 0.90; adjusted P = .44). Median survival time was 17.7 months in arm A compared with 19.3 months in arm B. Two-year local control rate was 66.4% in arm A compared with 57.0% in arm B, and stents were less required in the surgery arm (5% in arm A v 32% in arm B; P < .001). The 3-month mortality rate was 9.3% in arm A compared with 0.8% in arm B (P = .002). Cumulative hospital stay was 68 days in arm A compared with 52 days in arm B (P = .02).
Our data suggest that, in patients with locally advanced thoracic esophageal cancers, especially epidermoid, who respond to chemoradiation, there is no benefit for the addition of surgery after chemoradiation compared with the continuation of additional chemoradiation.

Related Questions

If the patient has large, bulky nodes would you consider starting after chemotherapy for cytoreduction? Or otherwise consider replanning mid-treatment...

Especially if the patient had advanced N3 disease and is reluctant to pursue surgery?