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Keywords:

  • dysphagia;
  • dyspnea;
  • palliative therapy;
  • quality of life;
  • radiotherapy

Abstract

Aims:  To evaluate palliative outcomes of patients with extrinsic malignant tracheobronchial or esophageal stenosis treated with radiation. Mediastinal or hilar lymphadenopathy surrounding the tracheobronchi or esophagus may cause compression, presenting as dyspnea and dysphagia respectively. Treatment is important for symptom relief and maintaining patients' quality of life.

Methods:  Dyspnea and dysphagia were assessed using the Hugh–Jones score and a modified dysphagia scale, respectively. A total of 13 patients (median age, 60 years) with dyspnea received palliative radiotherapy. The primary organs were lung (n = 6), colorectum (n = 5), hypopharynx (n = 1) and uterine cervix (n = 1). Three patients received concurrent chemotherapy. The median time-adjusted biological effective dose (BED) was 33.0 Gy10. Ten patients (median age, 61) with dysphagia received palliative radiotherapy. The primary organs were lung (n = 7), esophagus (n = 2) and hypopharynx (n = 1). Three patients received concurrent chemotherapy. The median time-adjusted BED was 32.1 Gy10.

Results:  Palliation of dyspnea and dysphagia occurred in seven (54%) and five (50%) patients, respectively. Patients treated with doses over 35 Gy10 had greater score improvements than those treated with less than 35 Gy10 in both groups. Patients who received concurrent chemoradiotherapy had greater score improvements than those treated with radiotherapy alone. Dyspnea patients with pretreatment scores of 2 (n = 5) had greater score improvements than those with scores of 3 or more (n = 8).

Conclusion:  External beam radiotherapy should be considered for patients with tracheobronchial or esophageal stenosis before their symptoms worsen. The prescription dose should be over 35 Gy10.