Korean J Helicobacter Up Gastrointest Res.  2019 Sep;19(3):161-168. 10.7704/kjhugr.2019.19.3.161.

Chemoradiotherapy for Esophageal Cancer

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Kosin University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea. mipark@ns.kosinmed.or.kr


Esophageal cancer is a highly lethal malignancy. Squamous cell cancer (SCC) and adenocarcinoma are two major histologic types of esophageal cancer. The therapeutic approaches for both histologic types tend to be similar. Endoscopic therapy is considered in patients with Tis and T1a, and surgery alone is recommended in patients with T1N0 esophageal SCC or adenocarcinoma. Definitive chemoradiotherapy is a reasonable option for patients unable to withstand surgery. Esophagectomy is considered as the initial treatment for patients with clinical T2N0 esophageal SCC and those with adenocarcinoma with low lymph node metastasis risk. Combined modality therapy is recommended for patients with T3N0, T4aN0, and clinically node-positive thoracic esophageal cancer, regardless of histology. Definitive concurrent chemoradiotherapy is the most appropriate treatment approach for patients with esophageal SCC who are not surgical candidates. Definitive concurrent chemoradiotherapy is also considered for esophageal SCC patients who are potential surgical candidates with an endoscopically documented complete response after neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy. For chemoradiotherapy non-responders, surgery is recommended for those who remain operable after chemoradiotherapy. Esophagectomy is also recommended for patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma after neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy. Definitive concurrent chemoradiotherapy is preferred over surgery in patients with cervical esophageal cancer because its survival rate is similar to that of surgery and major morbidity can be avoided. Concurrent chemoradiotherapy rather than radiation therapy alone is recommended for patients who can tolerate this approach for non-metastatic, inoperable, or unresectable esophageal SCC or adenocarcinoma.


Chemoradiotherapy; Drug therapy; Esophageal neoplasms; Therapeutics

MeSH Terms

Combined Modality Therapy
Drug Therapy
Esophageal Neoplasms*
Lymph Nodes
Neoplasm Metastasis
Neoplasms, Squamous Cell
Survival Rate
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