Primary oesophageal involvement by lymphoma in two patients, one with Hodgkin's disease and one with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is reported. In both, there were no manifestations of the disease outside the oesophagus, which is exceptionally rare. In the patient with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, the oesophageal tumour was the first manifestation of lymphoma. Shortly after admission he developed a tracheo-oesophageal fistula from which he died before treatment could be started. In the patient with Hodgkin's disease, isolated oesophageal lymphoma was the first relapse after a 13 year interval free of disease. As he had previously received mediastinal irradiation he was treated with combination chemotherapy that resulted in long term survival (> five years). Several other long term survivors have been described but only after radiotherapy or surgery. These findings suggest that systemic chemotherapy may be equally successful in treating isolated primary oesophageal lymphoma, thus offering an alternative for those patients in whom local treatment is contraindicated.
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