, Volume 38, Issue 10, pp 2652-2661
Date: 28 May 2014

Postoperative Complications Do Not Affect Long-Term Outcome in Esophageal Cancer Patients

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As esophagectomy is associated with a considerable complication rate, the aim of this study was to assess the impact of postoperative complications and neoadjuvant treatment on long-term outcome of adenocarcinoma (EAC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) patients.


Altogether, 134 patients undergoing transthoracic esophagectomy between 2005 and 2010 with intrathoracic stapler anastomosis were included in the study. Postoperative complications were allocated into three main categories: overall complications, acute anastomotic insufficiency, and pulmonary complications. Data were collected prospectively and reviewed retrospectively for the purpose of this study.


SCC patients suffered significantly more often from overall and pulmonary complications (SCC vs. EAC: overall complications 67 vs. 45 %, p = 0.044; pulmonary complications 56 vs. 34 %, p = 0.049). The anastomotic insufficiency rates did not differ significantly (SCC 11%, EAC 15%, p = 0.69). Long-term survival of EAC and SCC patients was not affected by perioperative (overall/pulmonary) complications or by the occurrence of anastomotic insufficiency. Also, neoadjuvant treatment did not influence the incidence of complications or long-term survival.


This is the first time the patient population of a center experienced with esophageal cancer surgery was assessed for the occurrence of general and esophageal cancer surgery-specific perioperative complications. Our results indicated that these complications did not affect long-term survival of EAC and SCC patients. Our data support the hypothesis that neoadjuvant treatment might not affect the incidence of perioperative complications or long-term survival after treatment of these tumor subtypes.