Radiotherapy and Cytotoxic Therapy

  • S. J. Arnott


Radiotherapy was first used in the treatment of oesophageal cancer soon after the discovery of radium. In a few cases radium was used to give external irradiation gaining temporary relief of symptoms in patients with tumours in the root of the neck. However, it was only when treatment was given using radium inserted into the oesophagus either within a bougie or carried in grooves of a vulcanite tube that cures were obtained (Einhorn 1904; Exner 1904; Guisez 1925; Dufourmental 1930). In the 1930s, techniques were developed to enable radium needles and radium seeds to be implanted directly into oesophageal tumours (Souttar 1934). These techniques were all associated with a number of serious problems and the overall results of treatment were dismal. Perforation of the oesophagus was a major hazard. In addition, the distribution of the sources was often poor, especially when there was significant narrowing of the oesophagus at the upper end of the tumour. This led to inadequate irradiation of some parts of the growth and the delivery of very high doses to others.


Esophageal Cancer Radiation Therapy Oncology Group Oesophageal Cancer Radical Radiotherapy Local Tumour Control 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1989

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  • S. J. Arnott

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