Purpose: To evaluate the treatment outcome of radiation therapy for 33 loco-regionally recurrent esophageal cancer patients. Methods: Between 1988 and 1997, 33 patients with loco-regional recurrence of esophageal cancer after curative surgery received radiation therapy at an average total dose of 61 Gy. The site of recurrence was the supraclavicular region in 14 patients, the mediastinal region in 13 patients, and both the supraclavicular and mediastinal regions in six patients. If patients had ether distant metastasis or malignant pleural effusion, they were excluded from analysis. Patients who received prophylactic postoperative irradiation were also excluded from analysis. Results: The median survival period was 7 months. The survival rates at 1, 2, and 3 years were 33, 15, and 12%, respectively. In univariate analysis, patients with a short time interval between surgery and recurrence (P = 0.0098) and patients with recurrence in both the supraclavicular and mediastinal regions (P = 0.036) had a worse prognosis. In multivariate analysis, the time interval between surgery and recurrence (P < 0.001) and age (worse prognosis in younger patients, P = 0.019) were the significant prognostic factors. Complete or partial responses were observed in nine (27%) and 21 (64%) of the patients, respectively. Changes in clinical symptoms, such as dysphagia, chest pain and back pain, could be evaluated in 11 patients, and improvement in symptoms was obtained in eight (73%) patients. Conclusions: The prognosis of patients who received radiation therapy for postoperative loco-regional recurrence of esophageal cancer is poor. However, there is symptomatic relief in a significant proportion of such patients, and long-term survival is possible in some patients.
- Esophageal cancer