The significance of neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (NACRT) for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) remains controversial with regard to the pathological response and long-term survival. We herein review the current status of and future perspectives regarding NACRT followed by esophagectomy for locally advanced ESCC. Some studies have suggested that a pathological complete response with NACRT is more common in patients with ESCC than in those with adenocarcinoma and that NACRT provided a survival benefit limited to patients with ESCC. However, NACRT may increase the risk of postoperative complications after esophagectomy. It is obvious that a favorable pathological response is the most important factor for obtaining a survival benefit, although no established parameters have been implemented clinically to predict the response to NACRT. Prospective clinical studies and basic research studies to identify predictive biomarkers for the response to NACRT are needed to aid in the development of NACRT treatment strategies for patients with ESCC.
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