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1.  Chemotherapy followed by surgery versus surgery alone in patients with resectable oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma: Long-term results of a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:181.
Background
This is a randomized, controlled trial of preoperative chemotherapy in patients undergoing surgery for oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). Patients were allocated to chemotherapy, consisting of 2-4 cycles of cisplatin and etoposide, followed by surgery (CS group) or surgery alone (S group). Initial results reported only in abstract form in 1997, demonstrated an advantage for overall survival in the CS group. The results of this trial have been updated and discussed in the timeframe in which this study was performed.
Methods
This trial recruited 169 patients with OSCC, 85 patients assigned to preoperative chemotherapy and 84 patients underwent immediate surgery. The primary study endpoint was overall survival (OS), secondary endpoints were disease free survival (DFS) and pattern of failure. Survival has been determined from Kaplan-Meier curves and treatment comparisons made with the log-rank test.
Results
There were 148 deaths, 71 in the CS and 77 in the S group. Median OS time was 16 months in the CS group compared with 12 months in the S group; 2-year survival rates were 42% and 30%; and 5-year survival rates were 26% and 17%, respectively. Intention to treat analysis showed a significant overall survival benefit for patients in the CS group (P = 0.03, by the log-rank test; hazard ratio [HR] 0.71; 95%CI 0.51-0.98). DFS (from landmark time of 6 months after date of randomisation) was also better in the CS-group than in the S group (P = 0.02, by the log-rank test; HR 0.72; 95%CI 0.52-1.0). No difference in failure pattern was observed between both treatment arms.
Conclusions
Preoperative chemotherapy with a combination of etoposide and cisplatin significantly improved overall survival in patients with OSCC.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-181
PMCID: PMC3123658  PMID: 21595951
2.  Unique case of esophageal rupture after a fall from height 
Background
Traumatic ruptures of the esophagus are relatively rare. This condition is associated with high morbidity and mortality. Most traumatic ruptures occur after motor vehicle accidents.
Case Presentation
We describe a unique case of a 23 year old woman that presented at our trauma resuscitation room after a fall from 8 meters. During physical examination there were no clinical signs of life-threatening injuries. She did however have a massive amount of subcutaneous emphysema of the chest and neck and pneumomediastinum. Flexible laryngoscopy revealed a lesion in the upper esophagus just below the level of the upper esophageal sphincter. Despite preventive administration of intravenous antibiotics and nutrition via a nasogastric tube, the patient developed a cervical abscess, which drained spontaneously. Normal diet was gradually resumed after 2.5 weeks and the patient was discharged in a reasonable condition 3 weeks after the accident.
Conclusions
This case report presents a high cervical esophageal rupture without associated local injuries after a fall from height.
doi:10.1186/1471-227X-9-24
PMCID: PMC2801469  PMID: 20003506
3.  Preoperative and Early Postoperative Quality of Life Predict Survival in Potentially Curable Patients with Esophageal Cancer 
Annals of Surgical Oncology  2009;17(1):23-30.
Background
In patients with esophageal cancer, evidence for prognostic significance of preoperative quality of life (QoL) is limited, while the prognostic significance of postoperative QoL has not been investigated at all.
Aim
To determine whether preoperative and postoperative QoL measurements can predict survival independently from clinical and pathological factors, in patients with potentially curable esophageal adenocarcinoma.
Methods
A randomized controlled trial was performed from 1994 to 2000 in two academic medical centres, comparing transthoracic and transhiatal esophagectomy. QoL questionnaires were sent before and 3 months after surgery (Medical Outcome Study Short Form-20 and Rotterdam Symptom Checklist). Uni- and multivariate Cox regression analyses were used to examine firstly the prognostic value of preoperative QoL and several clinical factors, and secondly of postoperative QoL, several clinical factors, and pathological staging.
Results
Out of 220 randomized patients, 199 participated in the QoL-study. In the multivariate preoperative model physical symptom scale (p = 0.021), tumor length (p = 0.034), and endosonographic T-stage (p = 0.003) were predictive for overall survival. In the postoperative multivariate analysis, social functioning (p = 0.035), pain (p = 0.026), and activity level (p = 0.037) predicted survival, besides pathological T-stage (p < 0.001) and N-stage (p < 0.001).
Conclusion
In the present paper the first large consecutive series of potentially curable esophageal cancer patients is presented in whom prospectively collected QoL data before and after potentially curative surgical resection were used to predict survival. Both preoperative (physical symptoms) and postoperative (social functioning, pain, and activity level) QoL subscales are independent predictors of survival in potentially curable patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma.
doi:10.1245/s10434-009-0731-y
PMCID: PMC2805800  PMID: 19830496
4.  NEOadjuvant therapy monitoring with PET and CT in Esophageal Cancer (NEOPEC-trial) 
Background
Surgical resection is the preferred treatment of potentially curable esophageal cancer. To improve long term patient outcome, many institutes apply neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy. In a large proportion of patients no response to chemoradiotherapy is achieved. These patients suffer from toxic and ineffective neoadjuvant treatment, while appropriate surgical therapy is delayed. For this reason a diagnostic test that allows for accurate prediction of tumor response early during chemoradiotherapy is of crucial importance. CT-scan and endoscopic ultrasound have limited accuracy in predicting histopathologic tumor response. Data suggest that metabolic changes in tumor tissue as measured by FDG-PET predict response better. This study aims to compare FDG-PET and CT-scan for the early prediction of non-response to preoperative chemoradiotherapy in patients with potentially curable esophageal cancer.
Methods/design
Prognostic accuracy study, embedded in a randomized multicenter Dutch trial comparing neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy for 5 weeks followed by surgery versus surgery alone for esophageal cancer. This prognostic accuracy study is performed only in the neoadjuvant arm of the randomized trial. In 6 centers, 150 consecutive patients will be included over a 3 year period. FDG-PET and CT-scan will be performed before and 2 weeks after the start of the chemoradiotherapy. All patients complete the 5 weeks regimen of neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy, regardless the test results. Pathological examination of the surgical resection specimen will be used as reference standard. Responders are defined as patients with < 10% viable residual tumor cells (Mandard-score).
Difference in accuracy (area under ROC curve) and negative predictive value between FDG-PET and CT-scan are primary endpoints. Furthermore, an economic evaluation will be performed, comparing survival and costs associated with the use of FDG-PET (or CT-scan) to predict tumor response with survival and costs of neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy without prediction of response (reference strategy).
Discussion
The NEOPEC-trial could be the first sufficiently powered study that helps justify implementation of FDG-PET for response-monitoring in patients with esophageal cancer in clinical practice.
Trial registration
ISRCTN45750457
doi:10.1186/1756-6649-8-3
PMCID: PMC3301128  PMID: 18671847

Results 1-4 (4)