A trial comparing chemotherapy before and after surgery with chemoradiation before surgery for cancer of the food pipe (Neo-AEGIS)

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

Oesophageal cancer




Phase 3

This trial is comparing chemotherapy before and after surgery with chemoradiation before surgery for cancer of the food pipe (oesophagus). The trial is open to people who have oesophageal cancer or who have cancer where the food pipe joins the stomach (gastro oesophageal cancer). This trial is supported by Cancer Research UK.

More about this trial

Doctors can treat oesophageal cancer and gastro oesophageal cancer with

  • Chemotherapy before and after surgery
  • Chemotherapy alongside radiotherapy (chemoradiation) before surgery

Both of these are standard treatments and have been used for several years. But doctors don’t know if one treatment is better than the other.

In this trial the researchers want to compare these 2 standard treatments. They want to find out if one treatment is better than the other, or if there is no difference between the 2 treatments.

Who can enter

You may be able to join this trial if all of the following apply

  • You have cancer of the oesophagus or you have gastro oesophageal cancer that is an adenocarcinoma
  • Your oesophageal cancer has grown into the muscle of the oesophagus or into the membrane covering the oesophagus (your doctor can confirm this)
  • If you have gastro oesophageal cancer you have had a laparoscopy to confirm your cancer is stage 2 or 3 
  • Your cancer has spread to either no lymph nodes or no more than 3 lymph nodes 
  • Your cancer is 8cm or less in length
  • You can have surgery to remove your cancer
  • You have had a PET-CT scan
  • You are well enough to be up and about for at least half the day (performance status 0, 1 or 2)
  • You have satisfactory blood test results
  • You are willing to use reliable contraception during treatment and for 6 months afterwards if there is any chance you or your partner could become pregnant
  • You are at least 18 years old

You cannot join this trial if any of these apply

  • You have cancer that has spread to another part of your body
  • The total length of your cancer plus any lymph nodes where the cancer has spread to is greater 10cm 
  • You have already had chemotherapy for any gastro intestinal cancer (your doctor can tell you about this)
  • You have had radiotherapy to your chest or tummy (abdomen)
  • You are having certain medications that could affect you taking part in the trial (the trial team can advise you about this)
  • You have had another cancer in the past 5 years apart from successfully treated basal cell skin cancer and in situ carcinoma of the cervix
  • You have certain heart problems (the trial team can advise you about this)
  • You have certain breathing problems (the trial doctor will test you for this)
  • You have tingling, numbness or pain in your hands or feet (peripheral neuropathy) unless it is mild
  • You have an infection that needs treatment
  • You have HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C
  • You have any other medical or mental health condition that the trial team thinks could affect you taking part in this trial
  • You have had an experimental drug as part of another clinical trial within the past 30 days apart from the Add Aspirin trial
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding

Trial design

This is an international phase 3 trial. The researchers need 594 people worldwide to join.

It is a randomised trial. The people taking part are put into treatment groups by a computer. Neither you nor your doctor will be able to decide which group you are in.

  • People in one group have chemotherapy before and after surgery to remove their cancer
  • People in the other group have chemoradiation before surgery to remove their cancer

People who are having chemotherapy before and after surgery will have one of the following combinations of chemotherapy drugs

  • Epirubicin, cisplatin and fluorouracil (ECF)
  • Epirubicin, cisplatin and capecitabine (ECX)
  • Epirubicin, oxaliplatin and fluorouracil (EOF)
  • Epirubicin, oxaliplatin and capecitabine (EOX)

Your doctor will talk to you about which will be the best combination for you.

You have epirubicin, cisplatin and oxaliplatin as a drip into a vein. You have them every 3 weeks. Each 3 week period is called a cycle of treatment. You have 3 cycles of treatment before surgery and another 3 cycles afterwards.

If you have fluorouracil you have it through a PICC (peripherally inserted central line). The line is attached to a portable pump. You have fluorouracil non stop for 9 weeks before your surgery and for another 9 weeks after surgery. You need to go back to the hospital every week to have the pump changed.

Capecitabine is a tablet you have twice a day for 9 weeks before surgery and 9 weeks after surgery.

People having chemoradiation will have paclitaxel and carboplatin chemotherapy alongside 4½ weeks of radiotherapy. You have radiotherapy every day Monday to Friday (not on weekends). You have paclitaxel and carboplatin as a drip into a vein every week for 5 weeks before surgery.

The trial team will ask you to fill out a questionnaire before surgery then after surgery at

  • 3 months
  • 6 months
  • 1 year
  • 2 years
  • 3 years

The questionnaire will ask about side effects and how you’ve been feeling. This is called a quality of life study.

Hospital visits

You see the doctor to have some tests before taking part. These tests include

  • A physical examination
  • Blood tests
  • Endoscopy
  • PET-CT scan
  • Endoscopic ultrasound
  • Laparoscopy
  • A test to check how well your lungs are working
  • Heart scan (MUGA or ECHO)
  • Hearing test

During treatment before surgery you see the doctor regularly for a physical examination and blood tests.

Before surgery you may have a PET-CT scan or a CT scan.

If you have gastro oesophageal cancer your doctor may also want you to have a laparoscopy before surgery to see how well your cancer has responded to the chemotherapy.

You see the doctor 1 month after surgery for a physical examination and blood tests.

If you are having chemotherapy after surgery your doctor will see if you are fit enough to continue. If so you will see the doctor every 3 weeks before your chemotherapy.

Everyone then sees the doctor every 3 months for a year and then every 6 months for another 2 years.

Side effects

The most common side effects of the chemotherapy drugs used in this trial include

Paclitaxel can also cause your blood pressure to drop during treatment. The nurse will keep a check on this.

The side effects of chemoradiation can include

  • Feeling or being sick
  • Tiredness
  • Swelling of your food pipe causing soreness when you swallow

The trial doctor will talk to you about the possible side effects of all the treatment, including possible complications of surgery, before you agree to take part in the trial.

We have more information on

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Shaun Preston

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Cancer Trials Ireland
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
Southampton Clinical Trials Unit

Other information

This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/14/017.

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Around 1 in 5 people take part in clinical trials

3 phases of trials

Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.

Last reviewed:

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