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Roeder, Falk; Nicolay, Nils H.; Nguyen, Tam; Saleh-Ebrahimi, Ladan; Askoxylakis, Vasilis; Bostel, Tilman; Zwicker, Felix; Debus, Juergen; Timke, Carmen; Huber, Peter E. (2014): Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) with concurrent chemotherapy as definitive treatment of locally advanced esophageal cancer. In: Radiation Oncology 9:191


Background: To report our experience with increased dose intensity-modulated radiation and concurrent systemic chemotherapy as definitive treatment of locally advanced esophageal cancer. Patients and methods: We analyzed 27 consecutive patients with histologically proven esophageal cancer, who were treated with increased-dose IMRT as part of their definitive therapy. The majority of patients had T3/4 and/or N1 disease (93%). Squamous cell carcinoma was the dominating histology (81%). IMRT was delivered in step-and-shoot technique in all patients using an integrated boost concept. The boost volume was covered with total doses of 56-60 Gy (single dose 2-2.14 Gy), while regional nodal regions received 50.4 Gy (single dose 1.8 Gy) in 28 fractions. Concurrent systemic therapy was scheduled in all patients and administered in 26 (96%). 17 patients received additional adjuvant systemic therapy. Loco-regional control, progression-free and overall survival as well as acute and late toxicities were retrospectively analyzed. In addition, quality of life was prospectively assessed according to the EORTC QLQs (QLQ-OG25, QLQ-H&N35 and QLQ-C30). Results: Radiotherapy was completed as planned in all but one patient (96%), and 21 patients received more than 80% of the planned concurrent systemic therapy. We observed ten locoregional failures, transferring into actuarial 1-, 2- and 3-year-locoregional control rates of 77%, 65% and 48%. Seven patients developed distant metastases, mainly to the lung (71%). The actuarial 1-, 2- and 3-year-disease free survival rates were 58%, 48% and 36%, and overall survival rates were 82%, 61% and 56%. The concept was well tolerated, both in the clinical objective examination and also according to the subjective answers to the QLQ questionnaire. 14 patients (52%) suffered from at least one acute CTC grade 3/4 toxicity, mostly hematological side effects or dysphagia. Severe late toxicities were reported in 6 patients (22%), mostly esophageal strictures and ulcerations. Severe side effects to skin, lung and heart were rare. Conclusion: IMRT with concurrent systemic therapy in the definitive treatment of esophageal cancer using an integrated boost concept with doses up to 60 Gy is feasible and yields good results with acceptable acute and late overall toxicity and low side effects to skin, lung and heart.