Combined modality therapy of esophageal carcinoma
One hundred ten patients with epidermoid carcinoma of the esophagus were treated at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) with combined modality techniques involving preoperative irradiation (RT) and surgery, and with preoperative chemotherapy (CT), surgery, and irradiation. For the 76 patients receiving preoperative RT during the period 1965-1976, the overall resectability rate was 54% with an operative mortality of 12%; long-term survivors (greater than 3 years) were few (7%). For 34 patients receiving preoperative CT with cisplatin and bleomycin, major objective tumor regression (greater than 50%) was seen by day 18 in 20%, with an additional 44% having smaller but definite improvement in the barium esophagram and in swallowing function. Of those receiving preoperative CT, 76% had resectable lesions, with an operative mortality of 11%. The median follow-up for this group is 24 months; of the 30 patients followed for at least 12 months, 20% are alive without evidence of disease. Although the resection rate following preoperative chemotherapy seems to be higher, thus allowing better palliation, neither preoperative radiation nor chemotherapy with cisplatin and bleomycin have had a major impact on long-term survival.