Impact of hospital volume on long-term survival after resection for oesophageal cancer: a population-based study in Taiwan†

Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2014 Dec;46(6):e127-35; discussion e135. doi: 10.1093/ejcts/ezu377. Epub 2014 Oct 3.


Objectives: Previous studies have shown that patients who undergo oesophageal cancer surgery in high-volume hospitals have lower postoperative mortality rates. However, the impact of hospital volume on long-term survival is controversial.

Methods: We identified 2151 patients who were diagnosed with oesophageal cancer between 2008 and 2011 from a national population-based cancer registry in Taiwan. High-volume hospitals were defined as those performing more than 86 oesophagectomies during that period (22 cases/year). Patients were stratified by whether they received preoperative chemoradiation. Cox regression analyses were used to determine the survival impact of hospital volume.

Results: The 3-year overall survival rates after oesophagectomies were 44.9% in high-volume hospitals, compared with 40.2% in low-volume hospitals (P = 0.002). For patients who received preoperative chemoradiation (n = 850), the 1- and 3-year overall survival rates were 74.7 and 36.8%, respectively, in high-volume hospitals, compared with 73.5 and 42.6%, respectively, in low-volume hospitals (P = 0.333). For patients who did not receive preoperative chemoradiation (n = 1301), the 1- and 3-year overall survival rates were 78.1 and 50.0%, respectively, in high-volume hospitals, compared with 67.9 and 38.8%, respectively, in low-volume hospitals (P < 0.001). Multivariate analysis showed that hospital volume, resection margin, cT, pT and pN stages are significant independent prognostic factors.

Conclusions: Overall survival rate of patients who undergo oesophagectomies without preoperative chemoradiation at high-volume hospitals is significantly higher than at low-volume hospitals. However, there was no significant correlation between hospital volume and long-term outcome in patients who received preoperative chemoradiation.

Keywords: Cancer registry; Hospital volume; Oesophageal cancer; Oesophagectomy; Survival.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Esophagectomy / mortality*
  • Esophagectomy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hospital Bed Capacity / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Taiwan / epidemiology