Irinotecan Plus Cisplatin for Therapy of Small-cell Carcinoma of the Esophagus: Report of 12 Cases from Single Institution Experience

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Esophageal small-cell cancer is a rare disease, and standard therapy has not yet been established.


A total of 12 esophageal small-cell carcinoma patients were treated with CPT-11 (70 mg/m2) on Days 1 and 15 and CPT-11 plus CDDP (80 mg/m2) on Day 1 with each cycle repeated every 4 weeks at our institution.


A total of 46 chemotherapy courses were given (median, 3.5). There were two complete responses and eight partial responses. The median survival time was 417 (97–1626) days, and three patients were still alive for >40 months. Grade 4 neutropenia was observed in two patients, Grade 4 anemia in one patient, Grade 3–4 diarrhea in three patients and Grade 3–4 hyponatremia in three patients. Other adverse reactions seen were mild with no treatment-related deaths observed.


To our knowledge, this is the first report of the series of more than 10 patients with small-cell carcinoma of the esophagus treated with the same chemotherapy regimen. The combination of CPT-11 and CDDP appears to be effective therapy of this disease with acceptable toxicity profile. We believe that this regimen is one of the options to be considered for treatment of esophageal small-cell carcinoma.

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