Background: The effectiveness of treatments for recurrent esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), particularly chemotherapy and chemoradiotherapy (CRT), remains unclear in patients who have previously been administered the same drugs during neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Methods: In this retrospective study, 117 patients with recurrent thoracic ESCCs who had undergone curative resection were included. Patients were divided into two groups based on presurgical treatment: no presurgical treatment (n = 74), and neoadjuvant chemotherapy (n = 43). Prognosis after recurrence was analyzed differently in the group of patients who received CRT and chemotherapy for a recurrent site because of differences in recurrence patterns. Results: There were no differences in patterns and times to recurrence between the patients who underwent each presurgical treatment. For treatment of recurrence, CRT was administered to 66 patients, chemotherapy to 32, surgical resection to 5, and best supportive care to 14. In patients who underwent CRT for local recurrence, the survival rates of those administered neoadjuvant chemotherapy were similar to those who did not receive any presurgical treatment (P = 0.706). In patients who underwent chemotherapy for distant metastasis, the survival rates of those administered neoadjuvant chemotherapy were worse than in those who did not receive any presurgical treatment (P = 0.028). Conclusions: The effects of CRT for recurrent cancers are not influenced by neoadjuvant chemotherapy, even when using the same anticancer agent. Chemotherapy is an acceptable treatment for patients who do not receive presurgical treatment.
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