RADIATION, NEDAPLATIN AND 5-FU EFFECTIVE IN TREATING ESOPHAGEAL CANCER

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Radiotherapy combined with nedaplatin -- a second-generation platinum complex -- and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) can help combat postoperative recurrent esophageal cancer, according to research conducted by physicians at Japan's Tohoku University School of Medicine and published in the British medical journal BMC Cancer.

The trial involved 30 patients, aged 30 to 80, who had recurrent squamous cell carcinoma of the esophaghus. They had also all undergone extended radical esophagectomy surgery with three-field lymph node dissection -- in the neck, mediastinum and abdomen. From June 2000 to December 2004, each patient was administered a 120-minute infusion of nedaplatin and a five-day treatment of 5-FU. Overall survival and relapse-free survival were monitored from the outset of the study, and tumor response was evaluated for one to two months foloowing treatment. Follow-up evaluations were performed every three to six months for two years after the study's end.

The one- and three-year survival rates were 60.6 percent and 56.3 percent, noted the study. Severe toxicity was observed in only two patients, and lesser side-effects -- such as neutropenia and esophagitis -- were easily controllable.

"The present protocol of radiotherapy combined with nedaplatin and 5-FU is a safe and effective salvage treatment for [this type of] esophageal cancer," concludes the study.