To assess the therapeutic outcome and failure pattern of three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT)-based concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) for recurrence of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) after radical surgery.
Treatment outcome and failure pattern were retrospectively evaluated in 83 patients with localized cervical and thoracic recurrences after radical surgery for thoracic esophageal SCC. All patients were treated with 3DCRT-based CCRT (median radiation dose 60 Gy), in which 39 received concurrent cisplatin plus 5-fluorouracil (PF), and 44 received concurrent docetaxel plus cisplatin (TP). Treatment response was evaluated at 1–3 months after CCRT.
With a median follow-up of 34 months (range, 2–116 months), the 3-year overall survival (OS) of all the patients was 51.8% and the median OS time was 43.0 months. The overall tumor response rate was 75.9% (63/83), with a complete remission (CR) rate of 44.6% (37/83). In univariate analysis, tumor response after CCRT (p = 0.000), recurrence site (p = 0.028) and concurrent chemotherapy (p = 0.090) showed a trend favoring better OS. Multivariate analysis revealed that tumor response after CCRT (p = 0.000) and concurrent chemotherapy (p = 0.010) were independent predictors of OS. Forty-seven patients had progressive diseases after CCRT, 27 had local failure (27/47, 57.4%), 18 had distant metastasis (18/47, 38.3%) and 2 had both local and distant failures (2/47, 4.3%).
3DCRT-based CCRT is effective in postoperatively recurrent esophageal SCC. Patients that obtained complete remission after CCRT appeared to achieve long-term OS and might benefit from concurrent TP regimen. Local and distant failures remained high and prospective studies are needed to validate these factors.