AIM: To evaluate toxicity and treatment outcome of highdose radiotherapy (RT) for cervical esophageal cancer (CEC). METHODS: We reviewed a total of 62 consecutive patients who received definitive RT for stage I to III cervical esophageal cancer between 2001 and 2015. Patients who received < 45 Gy, treated for lesions below sternal notch, treated with palliative aim, treated with subsequent surgical resection, or diagnosed with synchronous hypopharyngeal cancer were excluded. Treatment failures were divided into local (occurring within the RT field), outfield-esophageal, and regional [occurring in regional lymph node(s)] failures. Factors predictive of esophageal stenosis requiring endoscopic dilation were analyzed. RESULTS: Grade 1, 2, and 3 esophagitis occurred in 19 (30.6%), 39 (62.9%), and 4 patients (6.5%), respectively, without grade ≥ 4 toxicities. Sixteen patients (25.8%) developed post-RT stenosis, of which 7 cases (43.8%) were malignant. Four patients (6.5%) developed tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF), of which 3 (75%) cases were malignant. Factors significantly correlated with post-RT stenosis were stage T3/4 (P = 0.001), complete circumference involvement (P < 0.0001), stenosis at diagnosis (P = 0.024), and endoscopic complete response (P = 0.017) in univariate analysis, while complete circumference involvement was significant in multivariate analysis (P = 0.003). A higher dose (≥ 60 Gy) was not associated with occurrence of post-RT stenosis or TEF. With a median follow-up of 24.3 (range, 3.4-152) mo, the 2 y local control, outfield esophageal control, progression-free survival, and overall survival (OS) rates were 78.9%, 90.2%, 49.6%, and 57.3%, respectively. Factors significantly correlated with OS were complete circumference involvement (P = 0.023), stenosis at diagnosis (P < 0.0001), and occurrence of post-RT stenosis or TEF (P < 0.001) in univariate analysis, while stenosis at diagnosis (P = 0.004) and occurrence of post-RT stenosis or TEF (P = 0.023) were significant in multivariate analysis. CONCLUSION: Chemoradiation for CEC was well tolerated, and a higher dose was not associated with stenosis. Patients with complete circumferential involvement require close follow-up.
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