December 4th 2004
Esophageal cancer frequently expresses cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)enzyme. In preclinical studies, COX-2 inhibition results in decreasedcell proliferation and potentiation of chemotherapy and radiation. Wereport preliminary results of a phase II study conducted by the HoosierOncology Group in patients with potentially resectable esophageal cancer.All patients received cisplatin at 75 mg/m2 given on days 1 and 29and fluorouracil (5-FU) at 1,000 mg/m2 on days 1 to 4 and 29 to 32with radiation (50.4 Gy beginning on day 1). Celecoxib (Celebrex) wasadministered at 200 mg orally twice daily beginning on day 1 untilsurgery and then at 400 mg orally twice daily until disease progressionor unexpected toxicities, or for a maximum of 5 years. Esophagectomywas performed 4 to 6 weeks after completion of chemoradiation. Theprimary study end point was pathologic complete response (pCR). Secondaryend points included response rate, toxicity, overall survival, andcorrelation between COX-2 expression and pCR. Thirty-one patientswere enrolled from March 2001 to July 2002. Respective grade 3/4 toxicitieswere experienced by 58%/19% of patients, and consisted of granulocytopenia(16%), nausea/vomiting (16%), esophagitis (10%), dehydration(10%), stomatitis (6%), and diarrhea (3%). Seven patients (24%)required initiation of enteral feedings. There have been seven deathsso far, resulting from postoperative complications (2), pulmonary embolism(1), pneumonia (1), and progressive disease (3). Of the 22 patients(71%) who underwent surgery, 5 had pCR (22%). We concludethat the addition of celecoxib to chemoradiation is well tolerated. ThepCR rate of 22% in this study is similar to that reported with the use ofpreoperative chemoradiation in other trials. Further follow-up is necessaryto assess the impact of maintenance therapy with celecoxib onoverall survival.