BACKGROUND: We have previously reported a favourable response rate in patients with advanced esophageal cancer after treatment with a biweekly regimen of paclitaxel and cisplatin. In this study we investigate the feasibility and efficacy of this regimen in a neo-adjuvant setting. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients with resectable squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus received paclit-axel 180 mg/m(2) and cisplatin 60 mg/m(2) every 2 weeks. Patients received three courses and responding patients received three additional courses; thereafter, patients were referred for surgery. Patient characteristics of 50 eligible patients were as follows: male, 60%; median age, 62 years (range 45-78); median World Health Organization performance status of 1 (range 0-2). RESULTS: Ninety-four per cent of patients received at least three courses of chemotherapy. Haematological toxicity consisted of National Cancer Institute-Common Toxicity Criteria grade 3 or 4 neutropenia in 71% of patients, with neutropenic fever occurring in only two patients (4%). The overall response rate was 59%. Pathological examination showed tumour-free margins in 38 patients. In seven patients no residual tumour was found. The median overall survival was 20 months and the 1- and 3-year survival rates were 68% and 30%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: This dose-dense schedule of paclitaxel and cisplatin administered biweekly is well tolerated and the observed overall and complete response rates are promising.

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Annals of Oncology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Polee, M., Tilanus, H., Eskens, F., Hoekstra, R., van der Burg, M., Siersema, P., … van der Gaast, A. (2003). Phase II study of neo-adjuvant chemotherapy with paclitaxel and cisplatin given every 2 weeks for patients with a resectable squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus. Annals of Oncology. Retrieved from