Current and future treatment options for esophageal cancer in the elderly

Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2017 Jul;18(10):1001-1010. doi: 10.1080/14656566.2017.1334764. Epub 2017 Jun 7.


Esophageal cancer is the eighth most common cancer globally and has the sixth worst prognosis because of its aggressiveness and poor survival. Data regarding cancer treatment in older patients is limited because the elderly have been under-represented in clinical trials. Therefore, we reviewed the existing literature regarding treatment results for elderly patients (70+ years). Areas covered: We used pubmed to analyze the actual literature according to elderly esophageal cancer patients with subheading of incidence, esophagectomy, chemoradiation or chemotherapy. The main points of interest were treatment options for patients with Barrett's esophagus or early carcinoma, advanced tumor stages, and inoperable cancer. Expert opinion: The incidence of esophageal cancer has been increasing over the past thirty years, with a rapid increase of esophageal adenocarcinoma in Western industrialized nations. Patients aged over 60 years have been particularly affected. In this review, we have shown that elderly patients with esophageal cancer have various alternatives for adequate treatment. Clinical evaluation of comorbidity is necessary to make treatment decisions. Therapeutic options for early carcinomas are endoscopic or surgical resection. For elderly patients with advanced carcinomas, preoperative chemoradiation or chemotherapy should be discussed.

Keywords: Esophageal cancer; chemoradiation; chemotherapy; elderly patients; esophagectomy; neoadjuvant therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / therapy
  • Aged
  • Barrett Esophagus / drug therapy
  • Esophageal Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Esophageal Neoplasms* / radiotherapy
  • Esophageal Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Esophageal Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Esophagectomy
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Quality of Life

Supplementary concepts

  • Adenocarcinoma Of Esophagus