REVIEW – October 2009

Biological basis of concomitant radiochemotherapy and clinical indications for it


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The majority of recent achievements in oncology are based on the introduction of the concomitant use of radiotherapy and chemotherapy (radiochemotherapy). This has been made possible owing to successful technological improvements in radiotherapy (use of modern linear accelerators and new irradiation techniques) as well as the introduction of novel chemotherapy agents and targeted therapies. Radiochemotherapy is based on a strong biological rationale.  Concomitantly used chemotherapy decreases the risk for systemic spread of cancer and intensifies the effect of local radiotherapy. Radiochemotherapy is frequently used with organ-preserving intent and in almost all malignancies in which locoregional control is necessary. The preoperative or postoperative use of this treatment option points to the need for interactive cooperation between surgeons and clinical oncologists.