Multimodal approaches including three-dimensional conformal re-irradiation for recurrent or persistent esophageal cancer: preliminary results

J Radiat Res. 2011;52(6):812-20. doi: 10.1269/jrr.11066. Epub 2011 Oct 21.


The purpose of this study was to assess the toxicity and efficacy of multimodal approaches, including three-dimensional conformal re-irradiation, for patients with recurrent or persistent esophageal cancer after radiotherapy. Thirty-one patients with esophageal cancer treated with three-dimensional conformal re-irradiation were retrospectively analyzed. Of the 31 patients, 27 patients received concurrent chemotherapy, and 14 patients underwent regional hyperthermia during the re-irradiation. We divided the patients into two groups on the basis of their clinical condition: the curative group (n = 11) or the palliative group (n = 20). Severe toxicities were detected in one patient with Grade 3 esophageal perforation in the curative group, and 5 patients had a Grade 3 or higher toxicity of the esophagus in the palliative group. Advanced T stage at the time of re-irradiation was found to be significantly correlated with Grade 3 or higher toxicity in the esophagus. For the curative group, 10 (91%) of 11 patients had an objective response. For the palliative group, symptom relief was recognized in 8 (57%) of 14 patients with obvious swallowing difficulty. In conclusion, in the curative group with early-stage recurrent or persistent esophageal cancer, the multimodal approaches, including three-dimensional conformal re-irradiation, may be feasible, showing acceptable toxicity and a potential value of promising results, although further evaluations especially for the toxicities of the organs at risk are required. In the palliative group, the benefit of our therapy may be restrictive because severe esophageal toxicities were not uncommon in the patients with advanced T stage at the time of re-irradiation.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperthermia, Induced
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / radiotherapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / therapy
  • Radiotherapy, Conformal / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents