Prospective Comparison of Surgery Alone and Chemoradiotherapy With Selective Surgery in Resectable Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Esophagus

Hisanori Ariga, Kenji Nemoto, Shukichi Miyazaki, Takashi Yoshioka, Yohishiro Ogawa, Toru Sakayauchi, Keiichi Jingu, Go Miyata, Ko Onodera, Hirofumi Ichikawa, Takashi Kamei, Shunsuke Kato, Chikashi Ishioka, Susumu Satomi, Shogo Yamada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Esophagectomy remains the mainstay treatment for esophageal cancer, although retrospective studies have suggested that chemoradiotherapy (CRT) is as effective as surgery. To determine whether CRT can substitute for surgery as the primary treatment modality, we performed a prospective direct comparison of outcomes after treatment in patients with resectable esophageal cancer who had received CRT and those who had undergone surgery. Methods and Materials: Eligible patients had resectable T1-3N0-1M0 thoracic esophageal cancer. After the surgeon explained the treatments in detail, the patients selected either CRT (CRT group) or surgery (OP group). The CRT course consisted of two cycles of cisplatin and fluorouracil with split-course concurrent radiotherapy of 60Gy in 30 fractions. Patients with progressive disease during CRT and/or with persistent or recurrent disease after CRT underwent salvage resection. Results: Of 99 eligible patients with squamous cell carcinoma registered between January 2001 and December 2005, 51 selected CRT and 48 selected surgery. Of the patients in the CRT group, 13 (25.5%) underwent esophagectomy as salvage therapy. The 3- and 5-year survival rates were 78.3% and 75.7%, respectively, in the CRT group compared with 56.9% and 50.9%, respectively, in the OP group (p = 0.0169). Patients in the OP group had significantly more metastatic recurrence than those in the CRT group. Conclusions: Treatment outcomes among patients with resectable thoracic esophageal squamous cell carcinoma were comparable or superior after CRT (with salvage therapy if needed) to outcomes after surgery alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-356
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Oct 1


  • Chemoradiotherapy
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Metastatic relapse
  • Salvage resection
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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