Pharmacotherapy for metastatic esophageal cancer: where do we need to improve?

Samuel Lee, Deirdre J. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Introduction: Esophageal cancer is a heterogeneous cancer comprised of differing cells of origin, molecular changes, and immune microenvironments. To date, most advances have been made in chemotherapy regimens where a one-size-fits-all approach is used. As a result, there remains a lack of tailored treatment options for such a heterogeneous cancer. This paper highlights the current standard of care treatment options as well as active areas of clinical research. Areas covered: The authors review the key trials that have led to current standard of care treatment including pivotal chemotherapy and targeted therapy trials. The authors then discuss the current approved uses and future directions for immunotherapy. Expert opinion: Current treatment options lack tailored treatment strategies based on the tumor’s biology. To date, approved targeted approaches only include HER2-directed and anti-VEGFR2 therapies. Furthermore, while immunotherapy treatment response is often durable, few clear predictive biomarkers for response have been identified. Future research should focus on characterizing additional molecular targets for therapeutic intervention and predictive biomarkers for immunotherapy, as well as combination approaches of immunotherapy with other therapeutic modalities to increase response rate. Ultimately, the field should strive to develop personalized treatment options based on a tumor’s molecular profile, microenvironment, and neo-antigen expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-366
Number of pages10
JournalExpert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 11 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • adenocarcinoma
  • chemotherapy
  • esophagus
  • gastroesophageal junction
  • metastatic
  • sqamous cell cancer


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