Microscopic tumor spread beyond (echo)endoscopically determined tumor borders in esophageal cancer

Melanie Machiels, Maurits L. van Montfoort, Nikki B. Thuijs, Mark I. van Berge Henegouwen, Tanja Alderliesten, Sybren L. Meijer, Jeanin E. van Hooft, Maarten C. C. M. Hulshof

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OBJECTIVE: The microscopic tumor spread (MS) beyond the macroscopic tumor borders of esophageal tumors is crucial for determining the clinical target volume (CTV) in radiotherapy. The question arises whether current voluminous CTV margins of 3-5 cm around the macroscopic gross tumor volume (GTV) to account for MS are still accurate when fiducial markers are used for GTV determination. We aimed to pathologically validate the use of fiducial markers placed on the (echo)endoscopically determined tumor border (EDTB) as a surrogate for macroscopic tumor borders and to analyse the MS beyond EDTBs. METHODS: Thirty-three consecutive esophageal cancer patients treated with neo-adjuvant chemoradiotherapy after (echo)endoscopic fiducial marker implantation at cranial and caudal EDTB were included in this study. Fiducial marker positions were detected in the surgical specimens under CT guidance and demarcated with beads, and subsequently analysed for macroscopic tumor spread and MS beyond the demarcations. A logistic regression analysis was performed to determine predicting factors for MS beyond EDTB. RESULTS: A total of 60 EDTBs were examined in 32 patients. In 50% of patients no or only partial regression of tumor in response to therapy (≥Mandard 3) or higher was seen (i.e., residual tumor group) and included for MS analysis. None had macroscopic tumor spread beyond EDTBs. In the residual tumor group, only 20 and 21% of the cranial and caudal EDTBs were crossed with a maximum of 9 mm and 16 mm MS, respectively. This MS was corrected for each individual determined contraction rate (mean: 93%). Presence of MS beyond EDTB was significantly associated with initial tumor length (p = 0.028). CONCLUSION: Our results validate the use of fiducial markers on EDTB as a surrogate for macroscopic tumor and indicate that CTV margins around the GTV to compensate for MS along the esophageal wall can be limited to 1-1.5 cm, when the GTV is determined with fiducial markers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number219
Pages (from-to)219
JournalRadiation oncology (London, England)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2019


  • Clinical target volume
  • Endoscopy
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Fiducial markers
  • Microscopic tumor spread
  • Radiotherapy

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