There are few treatment guidelines for locally recurrent esophageal cancer after trimodality treatment (pre-operative chemoradiation followed by surgery) in patients with a poor performance status. The purpose of this single institutional, retrospective study was to evaluate the clinical outcomes and toxicities of definitive-intent re-irradiation for patients with recurrent esophageal cancer with a poor performance status [ECOG (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group) ≥2]. Seven patients were identified with a median age of 74 years (range, 61-81 years). Four patients were ECOG 2 and three patients were ECOG 3. The median follow-up time after re-irradiation was 49 months. The median interval between initial radiotherapy and re-treatment was 32 months. Six patients received concurrent chemotherapy [carboplatin + paclitaxel in three patients; folinic acid, fluorouracil, oxaliplatin (FOLFOX) + 5-fluorouracil in one patient; FOLFOX in one patient, and capecitabine in one patient]. At the last follow-up, the six patients who underwent concurrent chemotherapy had stable disease (86%), while the one who did not receive chemotherapy progressed (14%). Two patients developed metastases. Three patients developed acute (6 months) were limited to grades 1 and 2 dysphagia and pneumonitis in four patients. In conclusion, definitive re-irradiation of recurrent esophageal cancer in patients with a poor performance status appears to be safe with acceptable acute toxicity and late complications. It also appears to result in durable local control when combined with chemotherapy, albeit with a small number of patients and limited follow-up.
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