Use of oesophagogastroscopy to assess the response of oesophageal carcinoma to neoadjuvant therapy

W. A. Brown, J. Thomas, D. Gotley, B. H. Burmeister, K. H. Lim, I. Martin, E. T. Walpole, D. B. Thomson, J. A. Harvey, B. M. Smithers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Approximately 25 per cent of patients with oesophageal cancer who undergo neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy have no evidence of tumour in the resected specimen (complete pathological response). Those who do not respond have a poor 5-year survival compared with complete responders, regardless of whether or not they undergo surgery. Selecting for surgery only those who have a response to neoadjuvant therapy has the potential to improve overall survival as well as to rationalize the management of non-responders. This study assessed the accuracy of oesophagogastroscopy in this setting. Methods: A prospective database of 804 patients undergoing oesophageal resection for carcinoma was reviewed. Endoscopic assessment of the response to neoadjuvant therapy in 100 consecutive patients was compared with the pathological assessment of response. The survival for each level of response was compared. Results: At endoscopy 30 patients were considered to have had a complete response. This was confirmed pathologically in 15 patients. Survival was improved in those with a pathologically confirmed complete response (3-year survival rate 62.4 (s.e. 12.9) percent) compared with non-responders (16.3 (s.e. 6.6) per cent). Those with microscopic residual disease also had an improved 3-year survival rate (46.3 (s.e. 12.2) per cent); however, oesophagogastroscopy failed to identify this subset. Conclusion: Oesophagogastroscopy may be useful in the assessment of tumour response to neoadjuvant therapy. However, owing to its poor accuracy patients should not be excluded from further therapeutic intervention on the basis of this assessment alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-204
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes

Cite this