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Postoperative radiation in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and target volume delineation

Authors Zhu Y, Li M, Zhang Y, Yu J

Received 13 January 2016

Accepted for publication 31 May 2016

Published 11 July 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 4187—4196


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Dr William Cho

Yingming Zhu,* Minghuan Li,* Li Kong, Jinming Yu

Department of Radiation Oncology, Shandong Cancer Hospital and Institute, Shandong University, Jinan, Shandong, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Esophageal cancer is the sixth leading cause of cancer death worldwide, and patients who are treated with surgery alone, without neoadjuvant therapies, experience frequent relapses. Whether postoperative therapies could reduce the recurrence or improve overall survival is still controversial for these patients. The purpose of our review is to figure out the value of postoperative adjuvant therapy and address the disputes about target volume delineation according to published data. Based on the evidence of increased morbidity and disadvantages on patient survival caused by postoperative chemotherapy or radiotherapy (RT) alone provided by studies in the early 1990s, the use of postoperative adjuvant therapies in cases of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma has diminished substantially and has been replaced gradually by neoadjuvant chemoradiation. With advances in surgery and RT, accumulating evidence has recently rekindled interest in the delivery of postoperative RT or chemoradiotherapy in patients with stage T3/T4 or N1 (lymph node positive) carcinomas after radical surgery. However, due to complications with the standard radiation field, a nonconforming modified field has been adopted in most studies. Therefore, we analyze different field applications and provide suggestions on the optimization of the radiation field based on the major sites of relapse and the surgical non-clearance area. For upper and middle thoracic esophageal carcinomas, the bilateral supraclavicular and superior mediastinal areas remain common sites of recurrence and should be encompassed within the clinical target volume. In contrast, a consensus has yet to be reached regarding lower thoracic esophageal carcinomas; the “standard” clinical target volume is still recommended. Further studies of larger sample sizes should focus on different recurrence patterns, categorized by tumor locations, refined classifications, and differing molecular biology, to provide more information on the delineation of target volumes.

adjuvant therapy, delineation of clinical target volume, postoperative locoregional recurrence, postoperative radiation, thoracic esophageal squamous cell carcinoma

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