Purpose: To assess the effectiveness of definitive radiation therapy in patients with superficial esophageal cancer.
Materials and methods: Method of irradiation, local control rate, survival rate, and complications were assessed in 105 patients (89 men, 16 women; age range, 50-88 years) with superficial esophageal cancer treated with definitive radiation therapy at 15 hospitals in 1981-1990.
Results: All lesions were confirmed to be squamous cell carcinoma. The overall 5-year survival rate was 38.7%; the 5-year disease-specific survival rate was 71.0%. The 2-year local control rate was 83.0%. Late complications occurred in 16 patients. The prevalence of complications was relatively high in the group treated with intraluminal radiation therapy.
Conclusion: Local control and survival rates in patients treated with radiation therapy were excellent, especially in the group treated with external and intraluminal radiation therapy; however, the optimal dose and optimal combination of external and intraluminal radiation therapy should be further assessed.