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BACKGROUND: Oxaliplatin-capecitabine (OxCap) and carboplatin-paclitaxel (CarPac) based neo-adjuvant chemoradiotherapy (nCRT) have shown promising activity in localised, resectable oesophageal cancer. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A non-blinded, randomised (1:1 via a centralised computer system), 'pick a winner' phase II trial. Patients with resectable oesophageal adenocarcinoma ≥ cT3 and/or ≥ cN1 were randomised to OxCapRT (oxaliplatin 85 mg/m2 day 1, 15, 29; capecitabine 625 mg/m2 bd on days of radiotherapy) or CarPacRT (carboplatin AUC2; paclitaxel 50 mg/m2 day 1, 8, 15, 22, 29). Radiotherapy dose was 45 Gy/25 fractions/5 weeks. Both arms received induction OxCap chemotherapy (2 × 3 week cycles of oxaliplatin 130 mg/m2 day 1, capecitabine 625 mg/m2 bd days 1-21). Surgery was performed 6-8 weeks after nCRT. Primary end-point was pathological complete response (pCR). Secondary end-points included toxicity, surgical morbidity/mortality, resection rate and overall survival. STATISTICS: Based on pCR ≤ 15% not warranting future investigation, but pCR ≥ 35% would, 76 patients (38/arm) gave 90% power (one-sided alpha 10%), implying that arm(s) having ≥10 pCR out of first 38 patients could be considered for phase III trials. NCT01843829. Funder: Cancer Research UK (C44694/A14614). RESULTS: Eighty five patients were randomised between October 2013 and February 2015 from 17 UK centres. Three of 85 (3.5%) died during induction chemotherapy. Seventy-seven patients (OxCapRT = 36; CarPacRT = 41) underwent surgery. The 30-d post-operative mortality was 2/77 (2.6%). Grade III/IV toxicity was comparable between arms, although neutropenia was higher in the CarPacRT arm (21.4% versus 2.6%, p = 0.01). Twelve of 41 (29.3%) (10 of first 38 patients) and 4/36 (11.1%) achieved pCR in the CarPacRT and OxcapRT arms, respectively. Corresponding R0 resection rates were 33/41 (80.5%) and 26/36 (72.2%), respectively. CONCLUSION: Both regimens were well tolerated. Only CarPacRT passed the predefined pCR criteria for further investigation.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Cancer

Publication Date





38 - 46


Chemotherapy, Neo-adjuvant, Oesophageal, Radiotherapy, Randomised phase II, Surgery, Adenocarcinoma, Administration, Oral, Aged, Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols, Capecitabine, Carboplatin, Chemoradiotherapy, Adjuvant, Esophageal Neoplasms, Female, Humans, Infusions, Intravenous, Male, Middle Aged, Neoadjuvant Therapy, Organoplatinum Compounds, Oxaliplatin, Paclitaxel, Preoperative Care, Treatment Outcome