Palliative short-course hypofractionated radiotherapy followed by chemotherapy in esophageal adenocarcinoma: the phase II PALAESTRA trial.
Borg D., Sundberg J., Brun E., Kjellén E., Petersson K., Hermansson M., Johansson J., Eberhard J., Johnsson A.
Background: The majority of patients with incurable esophageal adenocarcinoma suffer from dysphagia. We assessed a novel treatment strategy with initial short-course radiotherapy followed by chemotherapy with the primary aim to achieve long-term relief of dysphagia. Methods: This phase II trial included treatment-naîve patients with dysphagia due to esophageal adenocarcinoma not eligible for curative treatment. External beam radiotherapy with 20 Gy in five fractions to the primary tumor was followed by four cycles of chemotherapy (FOLFOX regimen). Dysphagia was assessed using a five-grade scale. Results: From October 2014 to May 2018 a total of 29 patients were enrolled. The rate of dysphagia improvement was 79%, median duration of improvement 6.7 months (12.2 months for responders) and median overall survival 9.9 months. In the pre-specified per protocol analysis (23 patients) the rate of dysphagia improvement was 91%, median duration of improvement 12.2 months (14.0 months for responders) and median overall survival 16.0 months. The most common grade 3-4 adverse events were neutropenia (29%), infection (25%), anorexia (11%), esophagitis (11%) and fatigue (11%). Conclusion: Initial palliative short-course radiotherapy followed by chemotherapy is a promising treatment strategy that can provide long-lasting relief of dysphagia in patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma.