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Original Research

Palliative treatment with radiotherapy in patients of advanced esophageal carcinoma

Tapas Kumar Das, Pabitra Das, Sunita Das, Arpan Jana, Jayita Saha, Debojyoti Manna.


Background: Esophageal carcinoma is high prevalence in Asia, including India and most of the patients present in advanced and inoperable stage. Most of the patients have poor nutritional status and low performance status. These patients are unable to tolerate radical treatment. Prognosis of these patients is very poor. There are no enough data of prospective study in palliation of dysphagia of the patients with inoperable esophageal carcinoma with radiotherapy in Eastern India.

Objectives: The main objective of our study was palliation of dysphagia of the patients with inoperable esophageal carcinoma with radiotherapy.

Materials and Methods: The study was done with 43 patients with histopathologically proven squamous cell carcinoma and/or adenocarcinoma at thoracic esophagus, intraluminal brachytherapy feasible. Patients were received external beam radiotherapy palliative dose 30 Gy in 10 fractions for 2 weeks followed by intraluminal high-dose rate brachytherapy 6 Gy per fraction per week for 2 weeks.

Results: In our study, the mean age of the patients was 58 years (age range 48 years–70 years). 1 month after completion of intraluminal brachytherapy, a number of patients with improvement of dysphagia were 34 (79%). The improvement of dysphagia was maintained 25 (73.5%) patients at 3-month completion of treatment and 14 (56%) patients at 6-month completion of treatment. The median duration of dysphagia relief was 5.2 months. Post-radiotherapy complications as chest pain were seen in 10 (23.2%) patients, esophageal strictures were developed in 7 (16.3%) patients, ulcerations were in 4 (9.3%) patients, and esophageal fistula was developed in 1 (2.3%) patient.

Conclusion: The patients with advanced inoperable or metastatic esophageal carcinoma and poor performance status, palliative radiotherapy are effective modality of treatment for the improvement of dysphagia.

Key words: Inoperable Esophageal Carcinoma; Palliation; Dysphagia; Radiotherapy

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