The optimal neoadjuvant treatment of locally advanced esophageal cancer
Esophagectomy is the cornerstone of intentionally curative treatment in patients with locally advanced esophageal cancer. Neoadjuvant treatments have been introduced to minimize the risk of development of locoregional- and/or distant recurrences. Chemotherapy is used based on the results of the MAGIC- and the OEO2-trials and chemoradiotherapy became part of standard treatment after the publication of the CROSS-trial. Although several studies have compared the efficacy of neoadjuvant chemotherapy and chemoradiotherapy, no robust evidence on the optimal neoadjuvant treatment has been obtained as yet. Several studies indirectly comparing both modalities suggest a benefit for chemoradiotherapy in the number of pathologically complete responders, radical resection rate and possibly even in overall survival. Large randomized controlled trials like the Neo-AEGIS-, ESOPEC- and NeXT-trials are currently addressing this topic. A relatively new aspect of esophageal cancer treatment is the administration of monoclonal antibodies. Several monoclonal antibodies have been tested in, mostly, advanced esophageal cancer treatment. Cetuximab has also been tested as addition to neoadjuvant- and definitive treatment in patients with locally advanced esophageal cancer, showing mixed results. This review aims at providing an overview of the currently available neoadjuvant treatments in esophageal cancer.