World Journal of Surgery

, Volume 42, Issue 5, pp 1485–1495 | Cite as

Outcomes for Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma Treated with Curative Intent in a Western Cohort: Should Multimodal Therapy Be the Gold Standard?

  • Fiachra Sheil
  • Claire L. Donohoe
  • Sinéad King
  • Dermot O’Toole
  • Moya Cunningham
  • Sinéad Cuffe
  • Narayanasamy Ravi
  • John V. Reynolds
Original Scientific Report



The standard of care for treatment of oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) continues to evolve. Neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (neoCRT) provides a significant survival benefit compared to surgery alone but it is unclear whether definitive chemoradiation (dCRT) is superior.


Retrospective analysis of outcomes from patients treated in a national high-volume centre (2000–2014) where both neoCRT and dCRT are used with curative intent. Propensity score match analysis was used to match patients undergoing dCRT with those undergoing surgery ± neoCRT.


A total of 668 patients were treated for SCC in this time period, 361 (54.0%) of whom were treated with curative intent. In patients treated with curative intent, 179 (49.6%) had dCRT, and of these 32 (18%) did not complete the treatment regimen. One hundred and seven patients (29.6%) underwent surgery only, and 75 patients (20.8%) had multimodal therapy. The proportion of patients treated with curative intent increased over this time period. The five-year disease-specific and overall survival rate of patients treated with multimodal therapy was 62 and 50%, respectively, compared with 25 and 20% for patients the dCRT group and 44 and 38%, respectively, for the surgery only cohort (p < 0.001). Patients with a complete pathological response had a 90% five-year disease-specific survival and 76% overall survival rate. Multimodal treatment rather than dCRT was a significant predictor of overall survival (OR 1.7 95% CI 1.3–2.4, p = 0.002). In 106 patients matched, those undergoing dCRT had a significantly poorer overall survival versus those receiving surgery as a component of their care (20.47 ± 3.74 months versus 30.65 ± 10.07 months, p = 0.002).


This study provides evidence, consistent with CROSS data, that multimodal therapy for SCC can provide excellent outcomes with respect to overall survival, pathologic complete response rates, R0 resections and treatment-related mortality. A large RCT with specific arms for multimodal, dCRT and surgery alone is required.



The authors would like to acknowledge the contribution of Catherine O’Farrell RGN and Jennifer Moore RGN to patient care and outcomes within the unit.

Authors Contributions

All authors contributed author roles as defined by ICJME. FS and CLD contributed equally to the paper and should be regarded as first authors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no commercial or other interests.


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Copyright information

© Société Internationale de Chirurgie 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fiachra Sheil
    • 1
  • Claire L. Donohoe
    • 1
  • Sinéad King
    • 1
  • Dermot O’Toole
    • 2
  • Moya Cunningham
    • 3
  • Sinéad Cuffe
    • 3
  • Narayanasamy Ravi
    • 1
  • John V. Reynolds
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Surgery, St. James’s HospitalTrinity College DublinDublinIreland
  2. 2.Department of Medicine, St. James’s HospitalTrinity College DublinDublinIreland
  3. 3.Department of Medical and Radiation Oncology, St. James’s HospitalTrinity College DublinDublinIreland

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