Outcomes of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of esophagus who did not receive surgical resection after neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy


Aims and Background

The primary objective was to assess the different reasons for refusal of surgical resection (SR) in patients with esophageal squamous cell cancer (ESCC), who were initially planned for neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy (N-RCT) + SR, but SR was not performed after N-RCT.

Methods and Study design

From 1988 to 2011, 311 patients with ESCC were treated with N-RCT in a tertiary referral center for esophageal diseases. Fifty-three patients were analyzed who received RCT with 40-45 Gy and concomitant chemotherapy in neoadjuvant intention, but in whom the treatment was stopped or switched to definitive RCT due to progression, patient decision, or new findings.


The reasons for refusal of SR for these 53 patients were as follows: (1) patients’ or physicians’ preference for the planned treatment was changed during the N-RCT, such that RCT was continued to a curative dose without a break (group 1, n = 23, 44%); (2) patients were restaged after 4 weeks, and the tumor board decided to continue RCT because R0 resection was unlikely and/or patients were medically unfit (group 2, n = 15, 28%); (3) patients refused continuation of any treatment (group 3, n = 15, 28%). Refusal of SR was significantly more likely in patients with longitudinal tumor dimension >8 cm and those with an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status score of 2. Median follow-up time from the start of N-RCT was 57 months (range 1-137 months). The survival rates at 2 and 5 years were 36 ± 7% and 27 ± 7%, respectively. Group 1 had significantly longer survival.


The planned N-RCT+SR could not be completed in a considerable number of patients in a tertiary referral center. More strict selection criteria for multimodality treatment including SR could spare some of these patients an incomplete treatment and probably lead to increased utilization of definitive RCT.

Tumori 2015; 101(3): 263 - 267




Khashayar Fakhrian, Arif Deniz Ordu, Carsten Nieder, Florian Lordick, Philipp Günther Kup, Jörg Theisen, Stephanie E. Combs, Hans Geinitz

Article History


Financial support: None.
Conflict of interest: None.

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  • Department of Radiation Oncology, Marien Hospital Herne, Ruhr-University Bochum, Herne - Germany
  • Department of Radiation Oncology, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, Munich - Germany
  • Department of Oncology and Palliative Medicine, Nordland Hospital Trust, Bodø, and Institute of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsø, Bodø - Norway
  • University Cancer Center Leipzig (UCCL), University Clinic Leipzig, Leipzig - Germany
  • Department of Internal Medicine III (Hematology/Oncology), Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, Munich - Germany
  • Department of Surgery, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, Munich - Germany
  • Department of Radiation Oncology, Krankenhaus der Barmherzigen Schwestern Linz, Linz - Austria

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