Cancer 1999-10-15
Concurrent chemoradiotherapy for esophageal carcinoma patients with malignant fistulae.   
It remains controversial whether chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy are/is contraindicated for esophageal carcinoma patients with malignant fistulae. In some case reports, closure of fistulae by chemotherapy or radiotherapy has been reported. The current study investigated chemoradiotherapy for these patients using various primary treatments to manage the pulmonary complications. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of chemoradiotherapy for patients with locally advanced esophageal carcinoma with malignant fistulae.
Patients with endoscopically or radiologically confirmed fistulae were treated with concomitant chemoradiotherapy. Closure of fistulae was assessed by esophagography or endoscopy. Oral food intake also was assessed before and after treatment.
Of 202 esophageal carcinoma patients treated at National Cancer Center Hospital East between July 1992 and May 1998, 24 patients (11.9%) developed malignant fistulae. Twelve patients developed fistulae before treatment and the remaining patients developed fistulae during treatment. Closure of the fistulae after chemoradiotherapy was observed in 17 of these patients (70.8%), and 16 of these 17 patients (94.1%) had oral alimentation restored after successful treatment. The median survival time from the diagnosis of the fistula for all patients with fistulae was 198 days; in the patients whose fistulae were present before chemoradiotherapy, the median survival time was 238 days.
These results suggest that the presence of malignant fistulae does not contraindicate chemoradiotherapy. Once the inflammation due to the fistula has been controlled, chemoradiotherapy should be utilized because it may provide the best chance for survival and palliation of severe dysphagia.

Related Questions

Are there any precautions to prevent formation of a TE fistula?