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      Esophageal Cancer

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      New England Journal of Medicine

      Massachusetts Medical Society

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          Symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux as a risk factor for esophageal adenocarcinoma.

          The causes of adenocarcinomas of the esophagus and gastric cardia are poorly understood. We conducted an epidemiologic investigation of the possible association between gastroesophageal reflux and these tumors. We performed a nationwide, population-based, case-control study in Sweden. Case ascertainment was rapid, and all cases were classified uniformly. Information on the subjects' history of gastroesophageal reflux was collected in personal interviews. The odds ratios were calculated by logistic regression, with multivariate adjustment for potentially confounding variables. Of the patients interviewed, the 189 with esophageal adenocarcinoma and the 262 with adenocarcinoma of the cardia constituted 85 percent of the 529 patients in Sweden who were eligible for the study during the period from 1995 through 1997. For comparison, we interviewed 820 control subjects from the general population and 167 patients with esophageal squamous-cell carcinoma. Among persons with recurrent symptoms of reflux, as compared with persons without such symptoms, the odds ratios were 7.7 (95 percent confidence interval, 5.3 to 11.4) for esophageal adenocarcinoma and 2.0 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.4 to 2.9) for adenocarcinoma of the cardia. The more frequent, more severe, and longer-lasting the symptoms of reflux, the greater the risk. Among persons with long-standing and severe symptoms of reflux, the odds ratios were 43.5 (95 percent confidence interval, 18.3 to 103.5) for esophageal adenocarcinoma and 4.4 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.7 to 11.0) for adenocarcinoma of the cardia. The risk of esophageal squamous-cell carcinoma was not associated with reflux (odds ratio, 1.1; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.7 to 1.9). There is a strong and probably causal relation between gastroesophageal reflux and esophageal adenocarcinoma. The relation between reflux and adenocarcinoma of the gastric cardia is relatively weak.
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            INT 0123 (Radiation Therapy Oncology Group 94-05) phase III trial of combined-modality therapy for esophageal cancer: high-dose versus standard-dose radiation therapy.

            To compare the local/regional control, survival, and toxicity of combined-modality therapy using high-dose (64.8 Gy) versus standard-dose (50.4 Gy) radiation therapy for the treatment of patients with esophageal cancer. A total of 236 patients with clinical stage T1 to T4, N0/1, M0 squamous cell carcinoma or adenocarcinoma selected for a nonsurgical approach, after stratification by weight loss, primary tumor size, and histology, were randomized to receive combined-modality therapy consisting of four monthly cycles of fluorouracil (5-FU) (1,000 mg/m(2)/24 hours for 4 days) and cisplatin (75 mg/m(2) bolus day 1) with concurrent 64.8 Gy versus the same chemotherapy schedule but with concurrent 50.4 Gy. The trial was stopped after an interim analysis. The median follow-up was 16.4 months for all patients and 29.5 months for patients still alive. For the 218 eligible patients, there was no significant difference in median survival (13.0 v 18.1 months), 2-year survival (31% v 40%), or local/regional failure and local/regional persistence of disease (56% v 52%) between the high-dose and standard-dose arms. Although 11 treatment-related deaths occurred in the high-dose arm compared with two in the standard-dose arm, seven of the 11 deaths occurred in patients who had received 50.4 Gy or less. The higher radiation dose did not increase survival or local/regional control. Although there was a higher treatment-related mortality rate in the patients assigned to the high-dose radiation arm, it did not seem to be related to the higher radiation dose. The standard radiation dose for patients treated with concurrent 5-FU and cisplatin chemotherapy is 50.4 Gy.
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              Extended transthoracic resection compared with limited transhiatal resection for adenocarcinoma of the esophagus.

              Controversy exists about the best surgical treatment for esophageal carcinoma. We randomly assigned 220 patients with adenocarcinoma of the mid-to-distal esophagus or adenocarcinoma of the gastric cardia involving the distal esophagus either to transhiatal esophagectomy or to transthoracic esophagectomy with extended en bloc lymphadenectomy. Principal end points were overall survival and disease-free survival. Early morbidity and mortality, the number of quality-adjusted life-years gained, and cost effectiveness were also determined. A total of 106 patients were assigned to undergo transhiatal esophagectomy, and 114 to undergo transthoracic esophagectomy. Demographic characteristics and characteristics of the tumor were similar in the two groups. Perioperative morbidity was higher after transthoracic esophagectomy, but there was no significant difference in in-hospital mortality (P=0.45). After a median follow-up of 4.7 years, 142 patients had died--74 (70 percent) after transhiatal resection and 68 (60 percent) after transthoracic resection (P=0.12). Although the difference in survival was not statistically significant, there was a trend toward a survival benefit with the extended approach at five years: disease-free survival was 27 percent in the transhiatal-esophagectomy group, as compared with 39 percent in the transthoracic-esophagectomy group (95 percent confidence interval for the difference, -1 to 24 percent [the negative value indicates better survival with transhiatal resection]), whereas overall survival was 29 percent as compared with 39 percent (95 percent confidence interval for the difference, -3 to 23 percent). Transhiatal esophagectomy was associated with lower morbidity than transthoracic esophagectomy with extended en bloc lymphadenectomy. Although median overall, disease-free, and quality-adjusted survival did not differ statistically between the groups, there was a trend toward improved long-term survival at five years with the extended transthoracic approach. Copyright 2002 Massachusetts Medical Society
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                Massachusetts Medical Society
                0028-4793
                1533-4406
                December 04 2003
                December 04 2003
                : 349
                : 23
                : 2241-2252
                Article
                10.1056/NEJMra035010
                14657432
                © 2003
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