Background: The use of combined chemotherapy and radiation for gastrointestinal malignancies has several theoretical advantages, and clinical trials to determine the type and extent of clinical benefits have been performed. Methods: The basic science and clinical trial data evaluating such combinations are reviewed, with an emphasis on the interactions between fluoropyrimidines and radiation. Results: Improved outcomes from chemoradiotherapy have been demonstrated in patients with selected stages of anal, esophageal, rectal, and pancreatic cancer. Conclusion: Despite these positive results, further work is needed to demonstrate even more effective and less toxic treatment regimens.
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