Low pretherapeutic serum albumin as a risk factor for poor outcome in esophageal squamous cell carcinomas

Nutr Cancer. 2015;67(3):481-5. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2015.1004726. Epub 2015 Feb 23.


The number of esophageal cancer patients is increasing worldwide and lots of patients suffer from malnutrition and hypoalbuminemic. Serum albumin is a widely acceptable method of assessing nutritional and inflammation status in cancer patients. But whether serum albumin has prognostic value with regard to short-term and long-term outcomes in patients who undergo esophagectomy for cancer is still unclear. We therefore investigated the prognostic role of serum albumin in patients with esophageal cancer. We retrospectively reviewed 208 patients who underwent esophagectomy from September 1, 2003 to December 31, 2008. Clinico-pathological characteristics and postoperative outcomes were compared between different pretherapeutic serum albumin classes: low (hypoalbuminemic), <35 g/l; middle, 35-40 g/l and high, >40 g/l. Older, female, and higher T-stages were more likely to be associated with hypoalbuminemic. Meanwhile, hypoalbuminemic patients had a higher rate of postoperative mortality and complications including sepsis, respiratory insufficiency, arrhythmia, and cardiac insufficiency. But for preoperative comorbidities, no significant difference was found between different pretherapeutic serum albumin classes. The overall 5-year survival rate was 28.6%, 43.9%, and 50.8% for patients with low, middle, and high pretherapeutic serum albumin levels, respectively. Hypoalbuminemic was associated with poor survival (P = 0.016). In a multivariate analysis, the pretherapeutic albumin level was proved to be an independent predictor of survival (hazard ratio = 0.731; 95% confidence interval: 0.544-0.982, P = 0.037). Pretherapeutic serum albumin level is a significant prognostic factor for short-term and long-term outcomes in patients who undergo esophagectomy for cancer, which therefore should be taken into consideration along with other well-defined prognostic factors for better preoperative assessment and prognostic evaluation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / blood*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery
  • Comorbidity
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / blood*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Serum Albumin / analysis*


  • Serum Albumin