Patients receive carboplatin IV and paclitaxel IV over 3 hours on days 1 and 22 and fluorouracil IV continuously on days 1-42. Beginning on day 1 of chemotherapy, patients undergo radiotherapy to the esophagus 5 days a week for 5 weeks. Treatment continues in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Patients with stable or responding disease at 4-8 weeks after completion of radiotherapy undergo esophagectomy and complete dissection of the mediastinal and perigastric lymph nodes. Beginning 8 weeks after surgery, patients who underwent curative resection may receive a maximum of 2 additional courses of paclitaxel and carboplatin in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.
Quality of life is assessed at baseline, before chemotherapy on days 1 and 22, and within 2 weeks before surgery.
Patients are followed every 3 months for 4 years.