Objective: This study evaluated the nationwide trends in care and accompanied postoperative outcomes for patients with distal esophageal and gastro-esophageal junction cancer.
Summary of background data: The introduction of transthoracic esophagectomy, minimally invasive surgery, and neo-adjuvant chemo(radio)therapy changed care for patients with esophageal cancer.
Methods: Patients after elective transthoracic and transhiatal esophagectomy for distal esophageal or gastroesophageal junction carcinoma in the Netherlands between 2007-2016 were included. The primary aim was to evaluate trends in both care and postoperative outcomes for the included patients. Additionally, postoperative outcomes after transthoracic and tran-shiatal esophagectomy were compared, stratified by time periods.
Results: Among 4712 patients included, 74% had distal esophageal tumors and 87% had adenocarcinomas. Between 2007 and 2016, the proportion of transthoracic esophagectomy increased from 41% to 81%, and neo-adjuvant treatment and minimally invasive esophagectomy increased from 31% to 96%, and from 7% to 80%, respectively. Over this 10-year period, postoperative outcomes improved: postoperative morbidity decreased from 66.6% to 61.8% ( P = 0.001), R0 resection rate increased from 90.0% to 96.5% (P <0.001), median lymph node harvest increased from 15 to 19 ( P <0.001), and median survival increased from 35 to 41 months ( P = 0.027).
Conclusion: In this nationwide cohort, a transition towards more neo-adju-vant treatment, transthoracic esophagectomy and minimally invasive surgery was observed over a 10-year period, accompanied by decreased postoperative morbidity, improved surgical radicality and lymph node harvest, and improved survival.
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