Survival Effect of Neoadjuvant Radiotherapy Before Esophagectomy for Patients With Esophageal Cancer: A Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End-Results Study


      The role of neoadjuvant radiotherapy (NeoRT) before definitive surgery for esophageal cancer remains controversial. This study used a large population-based database to assess the effect of NeoRT on survival for patients treated with definitive surgery.

      Methods and Materials

      The overall survival (OS) and cause-specific survival for patients with Stage T2-T4, any N, M0 (cT2-T4M0) esophageal cancer who had undergone definitive surgery between 1998 and 2004 were analyzed by querying the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End-Results database. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were generated and univariate comparisons were made using the log–rank test. Cox proportional hazards survival regression multivariate analysis was performed with NeoRT, T stage (T2 vs. T3-T4), pathologic nodal status (pN0 vs. pN1), number of nodes dissected (>10 vs. ≤10), histologic type (adenocarcinoma vs. squamous cell carcinoma), age (<65 vs. ≥65 years), and gender as covariates.


      A total of 1,033 patients were identified. Of these, 441 patients received NeoRT and 592 underwent esophagectomy alone; 77% were men, 67% had adenocarcinoma, and 72% had Stage T3-T4 disease. The median OS and cause-specific survival were both significantly greater for patients who received NeoRT compared with esophagectomy alone (27 vs. 18 months and 35 vs. 21 months, respectively, p <0.0001). The 3-year OS rate was also significantly greater in the NeoRT group (43% vs. 30%). On multivariate analysis, NeoRT, age <65 years, adenocarcinoma histologic type, female gender, pN0 status, >10 nodes dissected, and Stage T2 disease were all independently correlated with increased OS.


      These results support the use of NeoRT for patients with esophageal cancer. Prospective studies are needed to confirm these results.
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