AIM: The aim of this study was to compare the efficiency of the preoperative combined chemo-radiotherapy in the treatment of locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma in different locations of the oesophagus. METHODS: Between 1997 and 2005, 102 patients with locally advanced (T3-4) squamous cell oesophageal cancer received preoperative chemo-radiotherapy. In 40 cases, the tumour was localised in the upper-third (Group I), while in 62 cases, in the middle-third of the oesophagus (Group II). Survival rates of patients receiving neoadjuvant therapy were compared with a historical control group. In addition, Group I and Group II were compared to each other, as well. RESULTS: survival rate was significantly better after neoadjuvant therapy (p:0.0042) Resection was performed in 70% of the patients from Group I, and in 50% of those complete pathological remission (pCR) was observed. The perioperative morbidity and mortality rates were 43% and 14%, respectively. As far as Group II, 69% of the patients underwent oesophageal resection, with a perioperative mortality of 18% and morbidity rate of 62%. pCR was observed only in 7% of the cases. The median survivals (21 and 22 months) and the R0 resection rates (82 and 84%) were similar in the two groups. The pCR subgroup showed a significantly better survival rate. CONCLUSION: In this study, we demonstrated that preoperative chemo-radiotherapy increases survival in locally advanced oesophageal cancer. A significantly higher rate of complete response was observed in patients with upper-third oesophageal cancer. It seems that this group has superior sensitivity to multimodal treatment; therefore, our results support a new prognostic factor in oesophageal cancer treatment.
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