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Annals of Surgical Oncology

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Impact of Age and Comorbidity on Choice and Outcome of Two Different Treatment Options for Patients with Potentially Curable Esophageal Cancer

Z. Faiz MD, M. van Putten PhD, R. H. A. Verhoeven PhD, J. W. van Sandick MD, PhD, G. A. P. Nieuwenhuijzen MD, PhD, M. J. C. van der Sangen MD, V. E. P. P. Lemmens PhD, B. P. L. Wijnhoven MD, PhD, J. T. M. Plukker MD, PhD
Thoracic Oncology
Volume 26, Issue 4 / April , 2019



This study was designed to assess the impact of age and comorbidity on choice and outcome of definitive chemoradiotherapy (dCRT) or neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy plus surgery.


In this population-based study, all patients with potentially curable EC (cT1N+/cT2-3, TX, any cN, cM0) diagnosed in the South East of the Netherlands between 2004 and 2014 were included. Kaplan–Meier method with log-rank tests and multivariable Cox regression analysis were used to compare overall survival (OS).


A total of 702 patients was included. Age ≥ 75 years and multiple comorbidities were associated with a higher probability for dCRT (odds ratio [OR] 8.58; 95% confidence interval [CI] 4.72–15.58; and OR 3.09; 95% CI 1.93–4.93). The strongest associations were found for the combination of hypertension plus diabetes (OR 3.80; 95% CI 1.97–7.32) and the combination of cardiovascular with pulmonary comorbidity (OR 3.18; 95% CI 1.57–6.46). Patients with EC who underwent dCRT had a poorer prognosis than those who underwent nCRT plus surgery, irrespective of age, number, and type of comorbidities. In contrast, for patients with squamous cell carcinoma with ≥ 2 comorbidities or age ≥ 75 years, OS was comparable between both groups (hazard ratio [HR] 1.52; 95% CI 0.78–2.97; and HR 0.73; 95% CI 0.13–4.14).


Histological tumor type should be acknowledged in treatment choices for patients with esophageal cancer. Neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy plus surgery should basically be advised as treatment of choice for operable esophageal adenocarcinoma patients. For patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma with ≥ 2 comorbidities or age ≥ 75 years, dCRT may be the preferred strategy.

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