Cervical Esophageal Cancer Treatment Strategies: A Cohort Study Appraising the Debated Role of Surgery
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Few studies have examined optimal treatment specifically for cervical esophageal carcinoma. This study evaluated the outcome of three common treatment strategies with a focus on the debated role of surgery.
All patients with cervical esophageal cancer treated at a single center were identified and their outcomes analyzed in terms of morbidity, mortality, and recurrence according to the treatment they received, i.e. surgery alone, definitive platinum-based chemoradiation (CRT), or CRT followed by surgery.
The study population included 148 patients with cervical esophageal cancer from a prospective database of 3445 patients. Primary surgery was the treatment of choice for 56 (37.83%) patients, definitive CRT was the treatment of choice for 52 (35.13%) patients, and CRT followed by surgery was the treatment of choice for 40 (27.02%) patients. CRT-treated patients obtained 36.96% complete clinical response, with overall morbidity and mortality rates of 36.95 and 2.17%, respectively. Surgical complete resection was achieved in 71.88% of surgically treated cases, with morbidity and mortality rates of 52.17 and 6.25%, respectively. No significant survival difference existed among the three treatments, but patients who underwent surgery alone had a significantly lower stage of disease (p = 0.031). Compared with patients with complete response after CRT, surgery did not confer any significant survival benefit, and overall 5-year survival was lower than definitive CRT alone. In contrast, surgery improved survival significantly in patients with non-complete response after definitive CRT (p = 0.023).
Definitive platinum-based CRT should be the treatment of choice for cervical esophageal cancer. Surgery has a role for patients with non-complete response as it adds significant survival benefit, with acceptable morbidity and mortality.
Michele Valmasoni, Elisa Sefora Pierobon, Gianpietro Zanchettin, Dario Briscolini, Lucia Moletta, Alberto Ruol, Renato Salvador, and Stefano Merigliano have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
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