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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007 Feb 1;67(2):385-8. Epub 2006 Nov 21.

The role of palliative radiation therapy in symptomatic locally advanced gastric cancer.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, The Cancer Institute, National University Hospital, Singapore.



To review the outcome of palliative radiotherapy (RT) alone in patients with symptomatic locally advanced or recurrent gastric cancer.


Patients with symptomatic locally advanced or recurrent gastric cancer who were managed palliatively with RT at The Cancer Institute, Singapore were retrospectively reviewed. Study end points included symptom response, median survival, and treatment toxicity (retrospectively scored using the Common Toxicity Criteria v3.0 [CTC]).


Between November 1999 and December 2004, 33 patients with locally advanced or recurrent gastric cancer were managed with palliative intent using RT alone. Median age was 76 years (range, 38-90 years). Twenty-one (64%) patients had known distant metastatic disease at time of treatment. Key index symptoms were bleeding (24 patients), obstruction (8 patients), and pain (8 patients). The majority of patients received 30 Gy/10 fractions (17 patients). Dose fractionation regimen ranged from an 8-Gy single fraction to 40 Gy in 16 fractions. Median survival was 145 days, actuarial 12-month survival 8%. A total of 54.3% of patients (13/24) with bleeding responded (median duration of response of 140 days), 25% of patients (2/8) with obstruction responded (median duration of response of 102 days), and 25% of patients (2/8) with pain responded (median duration of response of 105 days). No obvious dose-response was evident. One Grade 3 CTC equivalent toxicity was recorded.


External beam RT alone is an effective and well tolerated modality in the local palliation of gastric cancer, with palliation lasting the majority of patients' lives.

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