Immunotherapy for esophageal cancer. A randomized trial in combination with radiotherapy and radiochemotherapy. Cooperative Study Group for Esophageal Cancer in Japan

Am J Clin Oncol. 1995 Jun;18(3):216-22.


We investigated the effect of multimodal therapy in 187 patients with esophageal cancer. All patients were followed up over a period of 5 years. Among the 187 patients, 174 (93.1%) eligible patients with biopsy-proved esophageal squamous cell carcinoma underwent esophagectomy and were randomly assigned to receive radiotherapy (RT) with or without protein-bound polysaccharide (PSK), or RT plus chemotherapy (CT) with or without PSK. The 5-year survival rates of patients with RT, RT+PSK, RT+CT and RT+CT+PSK were 40.0%, 42.3%, 29.1% and 37.2%, respectively. There was a tendency for longer survival on PSK, but statistical significance was not reached (RT+CT group versus RT+CT+PSK group: log-rank and generalized Wilcoxon tests, P = .1930, P = .1034). However, Cox multivariate regression analysis indicated that postoperative therapy with or without PSK was the most significant prognostic factor for patients receiving RT+CT and for the eligible patients. These results indicate that PSK may have a beneficial effect on esophageal carcinoma when given in combination with CT+RT.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Immunotherapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Proteoglycans / therapeutic use*
  • Survival Analysis


  • Immunologic Factors
  • Proteoglycans
  • polysaccharide-K