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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 22, Issue 4, Pages 393-398
Original Article

Long-Term Survivorship of Esophageal Cancer Patients Treated with Radical Intent

Alex Agranovich,1 Colleen E McGahan,2 and Anagha Gurjal3

1Department of Radiation Oncology, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Fraser Valley Centre, Surrey, Canada
2Department of Population and Preventive Oncology, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver Centre, Vancouver, Canada
3Department of Medical Oncology, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Fraser Valley Centre, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

Received 28 September 2007; Accepted 10 December 2007

Copyright © 2008 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


To investigate the recent trends in definitive management of esophageal cancer, the records of 138 consecutive patients treated with radical intent in a single institution between 1995 and 2003 were reviewed and analyzed. The median follow-up period was 5.7 years (range 1.1 to 10.4 years). Seventy-seven patients were treated with radiation therapy (RT) only and 61 with combined regimens (CRT), in which RT was combined with either radical surgery or chemotherapy, or both. The overall survival of the entire cohort was 32% over two years and 20% over five years. The survivorship in the RT group was 17% over two years and 5% over five years. In the CRT group, 51% and 35% survived over two and five years, respectively. From all the potential prognostic factors examined by univariate and multivariate analyses, only male sex and use of CRT were strongly associated with better survivorship. There was no significant difference in the outcomes among the different regimens of CRT. Survivorship was not affected by the location or histology of the tumour, clinical stage, dose of RT or use of endoluminal brachytherapy in addition to external beam RT. There was a greater tendency to use RT only more often in older patients, but patient age did not affect survivorship. The proportion of patients treated with CRT did not change significantly over the last versus the first four years of the observed period. Combined regimens are undoubtedly superior to RT as a single modality. The long-term survivorship of patients in a subgroup of our patients treated with combined modality protocols compared favourably with the previously reported results in the literature and specifically in prospective randomized trials. However, the optimal combined modality regimen is yet to be defined.