Purpose: The aim of this large multicenter study was to assess the impact of salvage esophagectomy after definitive chemoradiotherapy (SALV) on clinical outcome.
Patients and methods: Data from consecutive adult patients undergoing resection for esophageal cancer in 30 European centers from 2000 to 2010 were collected. First, groups undergoing SALV (n = 308) and neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy followed by planned esophagectomy (NCRS; n = 540) were compared. Second, patients who benefited from SALV for persistent (n = 234) versus recurrent disease (n = 74) were compared. Propensity score matching and multivariable analyses were used to compensate for differences in some baseline characteristics.
Results: SALV versus NCRS groups: In-hospital mortality was similar in both groups (8.4% v 9.3%). The only significant differences in complications were seen for anastomotic leak (17.2% v 10.7%; P = .007) and surgical site infection, which were both more frequent in the SALV group. At 3 years, groups had similar overall (43.3% v 40.1%; P = .542) and disease-free survival (39.2% v 32.8%; P = .232) after matching, along with a similar recurrence pattern. Persistent versus recurrent disease groups: There were no significant differences between groups in incidence of in-hospital mortality or major complications. At 3 years, overall (40.9% v 56.2%; P = .046) and disease-free survival (36.6% v 51.6%; P = .095) were lower in the persistent disease group.
Conclusion: The results of this large multicenter study from the modern era suggest that SALV can offer acceptable short- and long-term outcomes in selected patients at experienced centers. Persistent cancer after definitive chemoradiotherapy seems to be more biologically aggressive, with poorer survival compared with recurrent cancer.
© 2015 by American Society of Clinical Oncology.