Clinical Research Papers:

Concurrent radiotherapy with gefitinib in elderly patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma: Preliminary results of a phase II study

Yaping Xu _, Yuanda Zheng, Xiaojiang Sun, Xinmin Yu, Jialei Gu, Wei Wu, Gu Zhang, Jinlin Hu, Wenyong Sun and Weimin Mao

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:38429-38439. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.5193

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Yaping Xu1,2, Yuanda Zheng2, Xiaojiang Sun2, Xinmin Yu3, Jialei Gu2, Wei Wu4, Gu Zhang4, Jinlin Hu4, Wenyong Sun4, Weimin Mao5

1School of Medicine, Shandong University, Jinan, China

2Department of Radiation Oncology, Zhejiang Cancer Hospital, Hangzhou, China

3Department of Medical Oncology, Zhejiang Cancer Hospital, Hangzhou, China

4Department of Pathology, Zhejiang Cancer Hospital, Hangzhou, China

5Zhejiang Key Laboratory of the Diagnosis & Treatment Technology on Thoracic Oncology, Hangzhou, China

Correspondence to:

Weimin Mao, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: esophageal cancer, elderly patients, epidermal growth factor receptor, gefitinib, radiotherapy

Received: March 28, 2015     Accepted: August 28, 2015     Published: September 10, 2015


The survival rate associated with esophageal cancer is very poor due to diagnosis at advanced stages of disease and insensitivity to chemotherapy. This study investigated the efficacy of gefitinib combination with radiation in 20 elderly patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) who were not eligible for platinum-based chemotherapy. Immunohistochemistry was performed to analyze epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression, and the amplified refractory mutation system was used to detect EGFR mutations. Treatment response was assessed by endoscopy and computed tomography. Treatment toxicity was evaluated using the National Cancer Institute's Common Toxicity Criteria. The data showed that among these 20 patients, 5 experienced a complete response (CR), 13 a partial response (PR), and 2 had stable disease. The overall response rate (CR + PR) was 90%, the median overall survival (OS) was 14.0 months (95% confidence interval [CI]: 10.0–17.9 months), and the median progression-free survival was 7.0 months (95% CI: 0–17.2 months). Patients with good Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status, never smoking, and EGFR mutated tumors had the best OS (14.0, 14.0, and 17.0 months, respectively). Treatment-related grade 3/4 toxicity occurred in five patients. No case of grade 3/4 impaired liver function or hematological toxicity was observed. Concurrent radiotherapy with gefitinib is effective and tolerable in elderly ESCC patients.

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