Esophageal cancer is a tough one to beat. Progress is being made, though. A new study confirms a way to treat this cancer when it comes back.
Radiation therapy combined with two chemotherapies works to treat esophageal cancer that has returned after surgery.
Japanese researchers have updated their earlier study relating to how well chemoradiotherapy (radiation and chemotherapy) works in patients whose esophageal cancer has returned.
That phase II trial was carried out between 2000 and 2004. It looked at treatment that combined radiation therapy and two chemotherapies for patients with recurrent (returned) esophageal cancer.
The regimen involved six weeks of radiation and two cycles of nedaplatin (trade name Aqupla) and 5-fluouracil (5-FU), two commonly used chemotherapy agents.
The current study was small, involving only 30 patients. Researchers were primarily looking at how this therapy affected overall survival. The patients were followed for about 72 months.
For people who received this combination therapy, the 5-year overall survival rate was 27 months, with a median lifespan of 21 months.
The outlook for patients who had the cancer return in the area where the esophagus joins the stomach fared worse, as did those who had multiple tumors.
The researchers concluded, “Radiotherapy combined with nedaplatin and 5-FU is a safe and effective salvage treatment for postoperative loco-regional recurrent esophageal cancer.”