• esophageal cancer;
  • weekly chemotherapy;
  • chemoradiotherapy;
  • docetaxel



This phase 2 study was aimed at defining the pathological response rate of a neoadjuvant schedule including weekly docetaxel and cisplatin, continuous infusion (c.i.) of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and concomitant radiotherapy (RT) in untreated stage II-III adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma of mid-distal thoracic esophagus.


The schedule consisted of a first phase of chemotherapy alone and of a second phase of concurrent chemoradiation. Doses were as follows: docetaxel 35 mg/m2 and cisplatin 25 mg/m2 on days 1, 8, 15, 29, 36, 43, 50, and 57 plus 5-FU c.i. (180 mg/m2 on days 1-21 and 150 mg/m2 on days 29-63); RT (50 Gy) started at day 29. Surgery was planned 6 to 8 weeks after the completion of chemoradiation.


A total of 74 patients were enrolled; pathological complete remission (pCR) was found in 47% (35 of 74) and near pCR (microfoci of tumor cells on the primary tumor without lymph nodal metastases) (pnCR) in 15% of the patients (11 of 74). Grade 3-4 neutropenia, nonhematological toxicity, and toxic deaths occurred in 13.5%, 32.4%, and 4% of the patients, respectively. Median follow-up was 55 months (range, 3-108 months). Median survival of all 74 patients was 55 months, whereas it was not reached in the pCR subset. The 3- and 5-year survival rates were, respectively, 83% and 77% for pCR, 73% and 44% for pnCR, and 21% and 14% for Residual Tumor subsets (P < .001).


This study shows that 1) this intensive weekly schedule produced a high pathological response rate, 2) responders had high and long-term durable survival rates. Cancer 2013. © 2012 American Cancer Society.