The role of radiation therapy in resected t2 n0 esophageal cancer: A population-based analysis

Jeremiah T. Martin, Mathias Worni, Joseph B. Zwischenberger, Beat Gloor, Ricardo Pietrobon, Thomas A. D'Amico, Mark F. Berry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background: The prognosis of even early-stage esophageal cancer is poor. Because there is not a consensus on how to manage T2 N0 disease, we examined survival after resection of T2 N0 esophageal cancer, with or without radiation therapy. Methods: Patients who underwent resection for T2 N0 squamous cell carcinoma or adenocarcinoma of the mid or distal esophagus, with or without radiation therapy, were identified using the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results cancer registry from 1998 to 2008. The 5-year cancer-specific survival (CSS) and overall survival (OS) after resection alone and combined resection with radiation therapy were compared using the Kaplan-Meier approach, risk-adjusted Cox proportional hazard models, and competing risk models. Results: The 5-year OS of 490 T2 N0 patients was 40.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 35.2% to 45.4%). Surgical resection alone was used in 267 patients (54%) and combined therapy in 223 (46%). The 5-year OS was 38.6% (95% CI, 31.7% to 45.5%) in patients undergoing resection only and 42.3% (95% CI, 34.7% to 49.6%) for combined therapy (p = 0.48). No difference in OS was found, even after risk adjustment (hazard ratio [HR], 1.14; 95% CI, 0.87 to 1.48; p = 0.35). However, in landmark studies with left truncation for 3 and 6 months, resection only showed better OS than combined therapy (HR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.75; p = 0.04 vs HR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.83; p = 0.04, respectively). No such difference for CSS was detected, even for the landmark study after 6 months (HR, 1.16; 95% CI, 0.98 to 1.39, p = 0.09). Conclusions: Combining radiation therapy with esophagectomy did not result in improved outcomes compared with esophagectomy alone for patients with T2 N0 esophageal cancer in the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results database.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-458
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was in part supported by the National Institutes of Health-funded Cardiothoracic Surgery Trials Network (M.F.B).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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