Update on Management of Squamous Cell Esophageal Cancer

Curr Oncol Rep. 2022 Mar;24(3):375-385. doi: 10.1007/s11912-021-01153-4. Epub 2022 Feb 10.


Purpose of the review: Esophageal cancer is the sixth most common cause of cancer death globally. Squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus (ESCC) is the predominant histologic type in the world. Treatment strategies have evolved in the last decade and new paradigms are replacing traditional approaches at all stages of cancer. This review will summarize the epidemiology, diagnosis, staging, and treatment of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.

Recent findings: Novel approaches to screening may be cost-effective in regions with a high incidence of ESCC. Multi-disciplinary evaluation and treatment has become the standard of care. Endoscopic resection may be an option for early stage ESCC. Minimally invasive esophagectomy can be performed safely as a primary therapy or after-induction chemoradiation. Several recent studies have found a survival benefit to immunotherapy for patients with metastatic or persistent disease. Multi-disciplinary evaluation and multi-modal therapy including cytotoxic chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and immunotherapy have improved survival compared to surgery alone.

Keywords: Checkpoint inhibitor; Chemoradiation; Esophageal cancer; Esophageal cancer staging; Neoadjuvant therapy; Squamous cell carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Esophageal Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma* / pathology
  • Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma* / therapy
  • Esophagectomy / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome