Randomized clinical trial on the combination of preoperative irradiation and surgery in the treatment of esophageal carcinoma: report on 206 patients

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1989 Feb;16(2):325-7.


From June 1977 to May 1985, a prospective randomized clinical trial on pre-operative radiation for esophageal carcinoma was carried out in 206 patients. Lesions under 8 cm in length and patients younger than 65 years, at least on semi-liquid diet and not contra-indicated for surgery were randomized into a combined group (104 patients) or a surgery alone group (102 patients). Eight MV X ray units were used for the pre-operative radiation using A-P portals to deliver 4,000 cGy to the whole mediastinum and the left gastroepiploic lymphatic chain. Surgery was carried out after 2 to 4 week's rest. The immediate results of the combined group and the surgery alone group were: resection rate 93% and 85%, operative mortality 5% and 6%, intra-thoracic anastomotic leak 0% and 1%, positive pathology at the esophageal stump 0% and 2%, and lymph nodes metastasis 27% and 35% respectively. The 5-year survival rates of the combined group and the surgery alone group were 35% and 30%. We have noticed that those patients with lesions showing radiation reaction of grade III gave a 5-year survival of 50% (12/24). Because intra- and extra-thoracic lymphnode metastasis caused failures (41% and 34% of these two groups), increasing the preoperative tumor dose to 60 Gy or designing post-operative irradiation to cover the bilateral supraclavicular areas was necessary. The whole mediastinum and the left gastroepiploic lymphatics could further improve the results of surgery. Further studies are needed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / radiotherapy*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Preoperative Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Random Allocation