Quality of life during potentially curative treatment for locally advanced oesophageal cancer

Br J Surg. 2007 Nov;94(11):1369-76. doi: 10.1002/bjs.5888.


Background: Combination chemoradiotherapy with or without surgery are internationally applied alternative strategies for potential cure of oesophageal cancer. This study compared health-related quality of life (HRQL) between patients selected for chemoradiation and those who had combination treatment including oesophagectomy.

Methods: Patients with stage II or III oesophageal cancer completed HRQL assessments at baseline, at the worst expected HRQL time point and at expected recovery. HRQL was compared between groups using linear regression, adjusting for age, sex, performance status, tumour stage and type, and baseline HRQL.

Results: Some 132 patients began treatment, of whom 51 had chemoradiotherapy and 81 combination treatment including surgery. Patients selected for chemoradiotherapy were older, more likely to have squamous cell cancer and reported poorer HRQL than those selected for surgery. At the worst expected time point after treatment, both groups reported multiple symptoms and poor function, but surgery was associated with a greater reduction in HRQL from baseline than chemoradiotherapy. Recovery of HRQL was achieved within 6 months after chemoradiotherapy, but complete recovery had not occurred 6 months after surgery and there was persistent significant deterioration in some aspects.

Conclusion: The negative treatment-related impact of chemoradiation on short-term HRQL is less than that experienced with combination treatment including surgery. Patients preferring early recovery should consider definitive chemoradiation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Esophagectomy / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents