To determine the overall survival and gastrointestinal toxicity for patients treated with salvage definitive chemo-radiotherapy after primary surgery for locoregional relapse of oesophageal carcinoma. A retrospective review of 525 patients who had a resection for oesophageal or oesophagogastric carcinoma at Princess Alexandra Hospital identified 14 patients treated with salvage definitive radiotherapy or chemo-radiotherapy, following localized recurrence of their disease. We analysed the patient and treatment characteristics to determine the median overall survival as the primary end point. Gastrointestinal toxicity was examined to determine if increased toxicity occurred when the stomach was irradiated within the intrathoracic radiotherapy field. The median overall survival for patients treated with curative intent using salvage definitive chemo-radiotherapy was 16 months and the 2-year overall survival is 21%. One patient is in clinical remission more than 5 years after therapy. Age <60 years old and nodal recurrence were favourable prognostic factors. Treatment compliance was 93% with only one patient unable to complete the intended schedule. Fourteen per cent of patients experienced grade 3 or 4 gastrointestinal toxicity. Salvage definitive chemo-radiotherapy should be considered for good performance status patients with oesophageal carcinoma who have a locoregional relapse after primary surgery. The schedule is tolerable with low toxicity and an acceptable median survival.