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The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of salvage endoscopic argon plasma coagulation (APC) therapy for local failure occurring after definitive chemoradiotherapy (CRT) in patients with inoperable esophageal cancer.A total of 47 patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma received CRT from January 2009 through November 2011 in our hospital. Thirty-five of these patients were excluded because of long-term disease-free status or because they received salvage surgery, systemic chemotherapy, or best supportive care. The other 12 patients had local relapse (n=8) or residual lesions (n=4) after definitive CRT and received salvage APC therapy. Local failures after definitive CRT were divided into 2 groups: the superficial growth group (n=6) and the submucosal growth group (n=6). The primary endpoints were relapse-free survival and overall survival after 60 months of follow-up.Six patients in the superficial growth group and 1 patient in submucosal growth group had a complete response after salvage APC. The rates of both relapse-free survival and overall survival were higher in the superficial growth group than in the submucosal growth group. No complications occurred after APC.Salvage APC is a potentially curative treatment for patients who have local failure associated with superficial tumors after CRT for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.