Original Research| Volume 88, P21-30, January 2018

A randomised phase II study of chemoradiotherapy with or without nimotuzumab in locally advanced oesophageal cancer: NICE trial

Published:November 24, 2017DOI:


      • Chemoradiation alone or in combination with nimotuzumab (a humanised antibody directed against epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)) was evaluated in locally advanced oesophageal cancer.
      • 93% of 107 patients had squamous cell carcinoma of the oesophagus.
      • Endoscopic complete response rate was increased with nimotuzumab (from 33.3% to 47.2%).
      • Median overall survival (OS) was also increased with addition of nimotuzumab, from 11.5 months to 15.9 months (HR 0.68; 95% CI: 0.44–1.07; P = 0.09).
      • No differences in terms of total FACT-G score were observed, except for the physical subscale (P = 0.03), with lower values in the control arm.



      Chemoradiotherapy is the standard treatment for patients with inoperable locally advanced oesophageal cancer. We sought to assess the safety and efficacy of chemoradiation combined with nimotuzumab, a humanised antibody directed against epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR).

      Patients and methods

      Untreated patients with inoperable locally advanced oesophageal cancer and no distant metastases were randomised to chemoradiotherapy (cisplatin and fluorouracil combined with external beam radiation) alone or in combination with nimotuzumab. The primary end-point was the endoscopic complete response (eCR) rate, and secondary end-points comprised quality of life (QoL) and safety. The combined eCR and pathologic complete response (cEPCR) and overall survival (OS) were also evaluated.


      We enrolled 107 patients with a mean age of 59 years, and 93% had squamous cell carcinoma. Toxicity was manageable in both arms with no important differences in adverse events (AEs). We performed post-treatment endoscopies in 67 patients, including 60 who had a biopsy. In the intent-to-treat population, the eCR rates with and without nimotuzumab were 47.2% and 33.3% (P = 0.17), respectively, and the cEPCR rates were 62.3% and 37.0% (P = 0.02), respectively. With a median follow-up of 14.7 months, the hazard ratio (HR) for OS was 0.68 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.44–1.07; P = 0.09) with a median OS of 15.9 months for the nimotuzumab arm and 11.5 months for the control arm. Regarding QoL, a significant difference was observed for the physical subscale score (P = 0.03) with lower values for the control arm.


      Combined chemoradiotherapy plus nimotuzumab is safe for patients with locally advanced oesophageal cancer, it appears to increase the cEPCR rate, and without compromising QoL.

      Clinical trials

      Identification number: EF024-201; Trial registry: NCT01249352.


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