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Radiother Oncol. 2000 Sep;56(3):329-33.

A prospective trial of short-course radiotherapy plus chemotherapy for palliation of dysphagia from advanced esophageal cancer.

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1
The Radiation Oncology Research Unit, Department of Oncology, Queen's University, Kingston Regional Cancer Centre, Kingston, ON, Canada.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Between 1994 and 1997, 22 patients with dysphagia from advanced incurable esophageal cancer were enrolled in a phase I/II prospective study to assess the palliative benefit and toxicity of a short course of radiotherapy with chemotherapy.

METHODS:

The study population included 17 men and five women with a median age of 69 (range 43-84). Patients were treated with 30 Gy in ten fractions to the mediastinum with a concurrent single course of chemotherapy (5-FU, 1000 mg/m(2), days 1-4 and mitomycin-C 10 mg/m(2), day 1). Swallowing ability was recorded each day on a self-administered diary card using the five point dysphagia index of the MRC (UK). The median baseline MRC swallowing score was 4 (cannot swallow solids).

RESULTS:

Treatment was generally well tolerated, but seven (32%) patients had transient worsening of dysphagia scores immediately following treatment because of esophagitis; fifteen (68%) achieved a complete response (score 1: no difficulty on swallowing) with a median time to normalization of swallowing of 5 weeks. For these patients, the median dysphagia-free interval from time of onset of improvement was 11 weeks (range 1-131 weeks) and 11 (73%) remained dysphagia-free until death. The remaining patients had no or marginal improvement. Univariate analysis showed no difference between responders and non-responders with respect to age, gender, or histology. Median survival for the entire study population was 20 weeks (range 3-135 weeks).

CONCLUSIONS:

This prospective trial shows that a short course of radiotherapy plus chemotherapy may produce complete relief of swallowing difficulties in a substantial proportion of patients with acceptable toxicity.

PMID:
10974382
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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