Evaluation of postoperative surveillance strategies for esophago-gastric cancers in the UK and Ireland

Dis Esophagus. 2021 Aug 24;doab057. doi: 10.1093/dote/doab057. Online ahead of print.


Esophago-gastric malignancies are associated with a high recurrence rate; yet there is a lack of evidence to inform guidelines for the standardization and structure of postoperative surveillance after curatively intended treatment. This study aimed to capture the variation in postoperative surveillance strategies across the UK and Ireland, and enquire the opinions and beliefs around surveillance from practicing clinicians. A web-based survey consisting of 40 questions was sent to surgeons or allied health professionals performing or involved in surgical care for esophago-gastric cancers at high-volume centers in the UK. Respondents from each center completed the survey on what best represented their center. The first section of the survey evaluated the timing and components of follow-ups, and their variation between centers. The second section evaluated respondents perspective on how surveillance can be structured. Thirty-five respondents from 27 centers consisting 28 consultants, 6 senior trainees and 1 specialist nurse had completed the questionnaire; 45.7% of responders arranged clinical follow-up at 2-4 weeks. Twenty responders had a specific postoperative surveillance protocol for their patients. Of these, 31.4% had a standardized protocol for all patients, while 25.7% tailored it to patient needs. Patient preference, comorbidities and chance of recurrence were considered as major factors for necessitating more intense surveillance than currently practiced. There is a significant variation in how patients are monitored after surgery between centers in the UK. Randomized controlled trials are necessary to link surveillance strategies to both survival outcomes and quality of life of patients and to evaluate the prognostic value of different postoperative surveillance strategies.

Keywords: esophageal cancer; gastric cancer; recurrence; surveillance.