Definitive Chemoradiation Therapy for Esophageal Cancer in the Elderly: Clinical Outcomes for Patients Exceeding 80 Years Old

Cai Xu, Mian Xi, Amy Moreno, Yutaka Shiraishi, Brian P. Hobbs, Meilin Huang, Ritsuko Komaki, Steven H. Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose The optimal treatment approach for patients ≥80 years (“elderly”) with esophageal cancer is not well established. We assessed the clinical outcomes in elderly patients treated with definitive chemoradiation therapy (CCRT) at our institution. Methods and Materials 56 consecutive patients ≥80 years with esophageal cancer treated with conventional CCRT between 2001 and 2016 were propensity score matched 1:2 to generate 2 younger patient cohorts treated with CCRT without surgery: “intermediate” (65-79 years, n=112) and “younger” (<65 years, n=112). Treatment related toxicity was assessed using the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events version 4.0. The rates of overall survival (OS) and recurrence-free survival (RFS) were calculated with the Kaplan-Meier method. Results The median ages of the 3 cohorts were 81 years (elderly, 80-92 years), 71 years (intermediate, 65-79 years), and 58 years (younger, 20-64 years). The elderly cohort was more likely to have cardiac comorbidities. Although the clinical complete response (cCR) rate deviated significantly among the 3 cohorts, (78%, 72%, and 56%; P=.004), the data failed to identify statistically significant differences among RFS, 2-year, and 5-year OS, or in median survival, which was 15.5 months, 23.6 months, and 20.2 months (P=.468), respectively. The overall severe toxicity rates were 38%, 32%, and 30%, respectively (P=.644), including comparable rate of radiation pneumonitis (P>.05). The elderly cohort, however, did show statistically significant evidence of an increased rate of severe radiation pneumonitis (grade ≥3) which was observed to be 11% versus 4% and 0%, respectively (P=.003). Conclusions The studied elderly population showed evidence of similar long-term clinical efficacy after definitive CCRT when compared with cohorts of younger patients with similar prognostic status. An increased rate of pulmonary toxicity was identified, without evidence of differences for nonpulmonary severe adverse events. Understanding the prognostic risk factors of pulmonary toxicity after CCRT may effectuate improved long-term outcomes for elderly population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-819
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul 15
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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