Feasibility RCT of definitive chemoradiotherapy or chemotherapy and surgery for oesophageal squamous cell cancer

J M Blazeby, S Strong, J L Donovan, C Wilson, W Hollingworth, T Crosby, J Nicklin, S J Falk, C P Barham, A D Hollowood, C G Streets, D Titcomb, R Krysztopik, S M Griffin, S T Brookes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Background:The optimal treatment for localised oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is uncertain. We assessed the feasibility of an RCT comparing neoadjuvant treatment and surgery with definitive chemoradiotherapy.Methods:A feasibility RCT in three centres examined incident patients and reasons for ineligibility using multi-disciplinary team meeting records. Eligible patients were offered participation in the RCT with integrated qualitative research involving audio-recorded recruitment appointments and interviews with patients to inform recruitment training for staff.Results:Of 375 patients with oesophageal SCC, 42 (11.2%) were eligible. Reasons for eligibility varied between centres, with significantly differing proportions of patients excluded because of total tumour length (P=0.002). Analyses of audio-recordings and patient interviews showed that recruiters had challenges articulating the trial design in simple terms, balancing treatment arms and explaining the need for randomisation. Before analyses of the qualitative data and recruiter training no patients were randomised. Following training in one centre 5 of 16 eligible patients were randomised.Conclusions:An RCT of surgical vs non-surgical treatment for SCC of the oesophagus is not feasible in the UK alone because of the low number of incident eligible patients. A trial comparing diverse treatment approaches may be possible with investment to support the recruitment process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-40
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2014

Structured keywords

  • Centre for Surgical Research


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  • ConDuCT-II

    Blazeby, J.


    Project: Research

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