Effect of histologic subtype on treatment and outcomes for esophageal cancer in the United States

Ryan P. Merkow, Karl Y. Bilimoria, Martin D. McCarter, Warren B. Chow, Howard S. Gordon, Andrew K. Stewart, Clifford Y. Ko, David J. Bentrem*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Esophageal adenocarcinoma (AC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) have distinct clinico-pathologic characteristics; however, it is unclear whether treatment patterns differ by histologic subtype. The objective of this study was to examine differences in treatment use and outcomes by histologic subtype for esophageal cancer in the United States. METHODS: From the National Cancer Data Base, patients with esophageal cancer were identified. Regression models were formulated to assess the influence of histologic subtype on treatment use and overall survival. RESULTS: From 1998 to 2007, 80,961 patients were identified with esophageal cancer in the United States. A higher percentage of patients with nonmetastatic AC underwent surgical resection compared with patients with nonmetastatic SCC (AC, 65.7%; SCC, 36.0%; P<.001), who were more often treated with chemoradiotherapy alone (AC, 25.7%; SCC, 54.1%; P<.001). High-volume academic centers used surgery more frequently for both AC and SCC than did other centers, yet even at high-volume academic centers, surgery was used much less often to treat SCC than AC (AC, 79.3%; SCC, 53.7%; P<.001). The likelihood of operative treatment for nonmetastatic disease was significantly lower in patients with SCC compared with patients with AC (P<.001). Overall survival was lower for patients with stage II/III disease of either histologic subtype treated with chemoradiotherapy alone compared with surgery plus chemoradiotherapy (P<.001). CONCLUSION: A large proportion of patients with esophageal cancer are being treated nonoperatively, and treatment use varies according to tumor histology, particularly by center type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3268-3276
Number of pages9
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012


  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Hospital type
  • Outcomes
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Surgery
  • Survival
  • Treatment utilization
  • Tumor histology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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