Aims and Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate the combined effects of hyperthermia, chemotherapy and irradiation on esophageal cancer. Methods and material: Since 1978, we have clinically applied hyperthermia combined with chemotherapy and irradiation (HCR therapy), to patients with carcinoma of the esophagus. The clinical results of 136 patients receiving preoperative HCR therapy were then compared with those of 107 cases undergoing preoperative chemo-radiotherapy (CR). Results: A histological examination of the resected esophagus after preoperative treatment revealed that 65.4% and 50.5% of the patients responded markedly (no viable cancer cells) and moderately (more than two thirds of all cancer cells destroyed) to HCR and CR therapies, respectively (p < 0.05). The five-year survival rates were 22.3% and 13.7% in the HCR and CR groups, respectively, and the difference was statistically significant (p < 0.01). In particular, for the patients classified as TNM Stages III and IV, a significantly longer survival period was obtained with HCR therapy (p < 0.05). In addition, no severe side effects were encountered in the patients given just hyperthermia. Conclusion: Our clinical results suggest that preoperative hyperthermo-chemo-radiotherapy shows great promise for treatment of patients with advanced carcinoma of the esophagus.
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