Published online Mar 14, 2006. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v12.i10.1511
Revised: August 16, 2005
Accepted: August 26, 2005
Published online: March 14, 2006
Outcomes in patients with gastric cancer in the United States remain disappointing, with a five-year overall survival rate of approximately 23%. Given high rates of local-regional control following surgery, a strong rationale exists for the use of adjuvant radiation therapy. Randomized trials have shown superior local control with adjuvant radiotherapy and improved overall survival with adjuvant chemoradiation. The benefit of adjuvant chemoradiation in patients who have undergone D2 lymph node dissection by an experienced surgeon is not known, and the benefit of adjuvant radiation therapy in addition to adjuvant chemotherapy continues to be defined.
In unresectable disease, chemoradiation allows long-term survival in a small number of patients and provides effective palliation. Most trials show a benefit to combined modality therapy compared to chemotherapy or radiation therapy alone.
The use of pre-operative, intra-operative, 3D conformal, and intensity modulated radiation therapy in gastric cancer is promising but requires further study.
The current article reviews the role of radiation therapy in the treatment of resectable and unresectable gastric carcinoma, focusing on current recommendations in the United States.