Updated protocol of the SANO trial: a stepped-wedge cluster randomised trial comparing surgery with active surveillance after neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy for oesophageal cancer

Ben M. Eyck*, Berend J. van der Wilk, on behalf of the SANO-study group, Bo Jan Noordman, Bas P.L. Wijnhoven, Sjoerd M. Lagarde, Henk H. Hartgrink, Peter Paul L.O. Coene, Jan Willem T. Dekker, Michail Doukas, Ate van der Gaast, Joos Heisterkamp, Ewout A. Kouwenhoven, Grard A.P. Nieuwenhuijzen, Jean Pierre E.N. Pierie, Camiel Rosman, Johanna W. van Sandick, Maurice J.C. van der Sangen, Meindert N. Sosef, Edwin S. van der ZaagManon C.W. Spaander, Roelf Valkema, Hester F. Lingsma, Ewout W. Steyerberg, J. Jan B. van Lanschot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The Surgery As Needed for Oesophageal cancer (SANO) trial compares active surveillance with standard oesophagectomy for patients with a clinically complete response (cCR) to neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy. The last patient with a clinically complete response is expected to be included in May 2021. The purpose of this update is to present all amendments to the SANO trial protocol as approved by the Institutional Research Board (IRB) before accrual is completed. Design: The SANO trial protocol has been published (https://doi.org/10.1186/s12885-018-4034-1). In this ongoing, phase-III, non-inferiority, stepped-wedge, cluster randomised controlled trial, patients with cCR (i.e. after neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy no evidence of residual disease in two consecutive clinical response evaluations [CREs]) undergo either active surveillance or standard oesophagectomy. In the active surveillance arm, CREs are repeated every 3 months in the first year, every 4 months in the second year, every 6 months in the third year, and yearly in the fourth and fifth year. In this arm, oesophagectomy is offered only to patients in whom locoregional regrowth is highly suspected or proven, without distant metastases. The primary endpoint is overall survival. Update: Amendments to the study design involve the first cluster in the stepped-wedge design being partially randomised as well and continued accrual of patients at baseline until the predetermined number of patients with cCR is reached. Eligibility criteria have been amended, stating that patients who underwent endoscopic treatment prior to neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy cannot be included and that patients who have highly suspected residual tumour without histological proof can be included. Amendments to the study procedures include that patients proceed to the second CRE if at the first CRE the outcome of the pathological assessment is uncertain and that patients with a non-passable stenosis at endoscopy are not considered cCR. The sample size was recalculated following new insights on response rates (34% instead of 50%) and survival (expected 2-year overall survival of 75% calculated from the moment of reaching cCR instead of 3-year overall survival of 67% calculated from diagnosis). This reduced the number of required patients with cCR from 264 to 224, but increased the required inclusions from 480 to approximately 740 patients at baseline. Conclusion: Substantial amendments were made prior to closure of enrolment of the SANO trial. These amendments do not affect the outcomes of the trial compared to the original protocol. The first results are expected late 2023. If active surveillance plus surgery as needed after neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy for oesophageal cancer leads to non-inferior overall survival compared to standard oesophagectomy, active surveillance can be implemented as a standard of care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number345
Pages (from-to)345
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The SANO trial is financially supported by the Dutch Cancer Foundation (KWF Kankerbestrijding) and ZonMw. Both funding bodies have no role in the design of the study and collection, analysis, and interpretation of data and in writing the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


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