When the MRC set up a new Oesophageal Cancer Working Party in 1990, this working party considered conducting a randomized trial of surgical resection with or without pre-operative radiotherapy. A small planning group was given the task of pursuing this idea, but, having consulted widely and conducted a literature search, were aware that a number of randomized trials had already investigated this question. The results of these trials appeared conflicting, however, and none of the trials was large enough to provide a reliable answer. The planning group therefore suggested that a meta-analysis would be more appropriate, and this was carried out by the MRC CTU meta-analysis group. The results  did not show a clear role for pre-operative radiotherapy, nor did they show sufficient promise to generate enthusiasm for a further trial.
Box 3.5 (continued)
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