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Cancer. 1993 Jan 15;71(2):281-6.

Swallowing function in patients with esophageal cancer treated with concurrent radiation and chemotherapy.

Author information

1
Fox Chase Cancer Center, Department of Radiation Oncology, Philadelphia, PA 19111.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Major goals of concurrent radiation and chemotherapy in the treatment of esophageal cancer are the early restoration and long-term maintenance of swallowing function. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of concurrent radiation and chemotherapy on swallowing function.

METHODS:

Between September 1980 and September 1990, 120 patients with esophageal cancer were treated at the Fox Chase Cancer Center on the basis of one of three prospective nonrandomized protocols using concurrent chemotherapy and radiation. Swallowing function was retrospectively assessed in these patients by use of a swallowing-function scoring system. In addition, patients who had long-term control of their esophageal cancer underwent a more detailed analysis of swallowing function.

RESULTS:

Initial improvement in dysphagia occurred in 88% of the 102 assessable patients, with a median time to improvement of 2 weeks. There was no difference in overall percentage of initial improvement for patients with adenocarcinoma versus squamous cell carcinoma. Patients with distal tumors, however, showed both earlier and higher frequency of initial improvement than did patients with tumors in the upper two-thirds of the thoracic esophagus (95% versus 79%). Local relapse-free survival of definitively treated patients at 3 years was 60% and was significantly better for patients with Stage I (76%) versus Stage II cancers (55%) (P < 0.05). All 25 patients treated with curative intent who survived for more than 1 year without evidence of disease were able to eat soft or solid foods and had a benign stricture rate of only 12%. Even in patients with advanced disease who were treated with palliative intent, 91% had an initial improvement in swallowing function and 67% had improvement in swallowing function that lasted until death.

CONCLUSIONS:

High-dose concurrent radiation and chemotherapy provides rapid improvement in dysphagia, and this improvement results in normal or near-normal swallowing function of long duration.

PMID:
8422619
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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