Postoperative recurrences are common after resection for oesophageal cancer. From January 1986 to September 1993 31 patients (30 males, one female, mean (SD) age: 57.5 (8.8) years) were treated for locoregional recurrence (n = 24), metastases (n = 6) or both (n = 1) occurring 15.0 (12.6) months after initial surgery. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy were combined in all cases. Symptomatic improvement was seen in 23 cases (74%) and lasted (excluding treatment period) for 6.3 (4) months. Objective tumoral response was seen in 20 patients (65%) including eight (26%) complete responses. Survival rates were at respectively six months, one, two, and three years: 70.7%, 47.1%, 17.1%, 4.3%. In conclusion, these results show that combined therapy could have a beneficial symptomatic effect and can be associated with prolonged survival in patients with postoperative recurrences of oesophageal cancer.
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