Medline: 9212013

International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 38(1): 127-132, 1997.

American Brachytherapy Society (ABS) consensus guidelines for brachytherapy of esophageal cancer.

Gaspar LE, Nag S, Herskovic A, et al.


INTRODUCTION: There is wide variation in the indications, treatment regimens, and dosimetry for brachytherapy in the treatment of cancer of the esophagus. No guidelines for optimal therapy currently exist.

AND MATERIALS: Utilizing published reports and clinical experience, representatives of the Clinical Research Committee of the American Brachytherapy Society (ABS) formulated guidelines for brachytherapy in esophageal cancer.

Recommendations were made for brachytherapy in the definitive and palliative treatment of esophageal cancer. (A) Definitive treatment: Good candidates for brachytherapy include patients with unifocal thoracic adeno- or squamous cancers < or = 10 cm in length, with no evidence of intra-abdominal or metastatic disease. Contraindications include tracheal or bronchial involvement, cervical esophagus location, or stenosis that cannot be bypassed. The esophageal brachytherapy applicator should have an external diameter of 6-10 mm. If 5FU-based chemotherapy and 45-50-Gy external beam are used, recommended brachytherapy is either: (i) HDR 10 Gy in two weekly fractions of 5 Gy each; or (ii) LDR 20 Gy in a single course at 0.4-1 Gy/hr. All doses are specified 1 cm from the midsource or mid-dwell position. Brachytherapy should follow external beam radiation therapy and should not be given concurrently with chemotherapy. (B) Palliative treatment: Patients with adeno- or squamous cancers of the thoracic esophagus with distant metastases or unresectable local disease progression/recurrence after definitive radiation treatment should be considered for brachytherapy with palliative intent. After limited dose (30 Gy) EBRT, the recommended brachytherapy is either: (i) HDR 10-14 Gy in one or two fractions; or (ii) LDR 20-25 Gy in a single course at 0.4-1 Gy/hr. The need for external beam radiation in newly diagnosed patients with a life expectancy of less than 3 months is controversial. In these cases, HDR of 15-20 Gy in two to four fractions or LDR of 25-40 Gy at 0.4-1 Gy/hr may be of benefit.

ABS guidelines for esophageal brachytherapy now exist and will be updated by the ABS in the future, as clinical data using more uniform treatment techniques becomes available.

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Rheinische Friedrich- Wilhelms- Universität Bonn
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Dr. G. Quade