Objectives: To assess the impact of neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (NCRT) on anastomotic leakage (AL) and other postoperative outcomes after esophageal cancer (EC) resection.
Background: Conflicting data have emerged from randomized studies regarding the impact of NCRT on AL.
Methods: Among 2944 consecutive patients operated on for EC between 2000 and 2010 in 30 European centers, patients treated by NCRT after surgery (n=593) were compared with those treated by primary surgery (n=1487). Multivariable analyses and propensity score matching were used to compensate for the differences in some baseline characteristics.
Results: Patients in the NCRT group were younger, with a higher prevalence of male sex, malnutrition, advanced tumor stage, squamous cell carcinoma, and surgery after 2005 when compared with the primary surgery group. Postoperative AL rates were 8.8% versus 10.6% (P=0.220), and 90-day postoperative mortality and morbidity rates were 9.3% versus 7.2% (P=0.110) and 33.4% versus 32.1% (P=0.564), respectively. Pulmonary complication rates did not differ between groups (24.6% vs 22.5%; P=0.291), whereas chylothorax (2.5% vs 1.2%; P=0.020), cardiovascular complications (8.6% vs 0.1%; P=0.037), and thromboembolic events (8.6% vs 6.0%; P=0.037) were higher in the NCRT group. After propensity score matching, AL rates were 8.8% versus 11.3% (P=0.228), with more chylothorax (2.5% vs 0.7%; P=0.030) and trend toward more cardiovascular and thromboembolic events in the NCRT group (P=0.069). Predictors of AL were high American Society of Anesthesiologists scores, supracarinal tumoral location, and cervical anastomosis, but not NCRT.
Conclusions: Neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy does not have an impact on the AL rate after EC resection (NCT 01927016).
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01927016.