Background: Multiple randomized controlled trials have shown that multimodal therapy provides the best overall survival for patients who had locally advanced esophageal cancer. However, it is unknown if multimodal therapy offers the best overall survival in octogenarians. Methods: We performed retrospective cohort study using data obtained from the National Cancer Database (NCDB) for octogenarians who had locally advanced esophageal cancer from 2004 to 2015. We evaluated the 5-year overall survival for patients among different therapies. We compared the 5-year overall survival between patients receiving chemoradiation therapy followed by surgery and a propensity-matched group of patients who underwent chemoradiation only. Results: There were 21,710 octogenarians (15%) with esophageal cancer in the NCDB database. Among octogenarians, there were 6,960 patients (32%) who had clinical stage II-III esophageal cancer. Among 6,922 patients whose treatment data were available, the most common therapy was chemoradiation (n=3,360, 49%). Two of the most common therapies that included surgical resection were surgery only (n=314, 5%) and chemoradiation therapy followed by surgery (n=172, 2%). Among different treatments, the best 5-year overall survival was achieved in patients receiving chemoradiation therapy followed by surgery (P<0.001). In the propensity score-matched cohort between chemoradiation therapy followed by surgery (n=83) to chemoradiation therapy only (n=83), there was an association with improved 5-year overall survival in the patients who had chemoradiation therapy followed by surgery (17.9%) compared to the patients who underwent chemoradiation only (5.7%, P=0.003). Conclusions: Most octogenarians with locally advanced esophageal cancer underwent definitive chemoradiation therapy. Very few patients underwent chemoradiation followed by surgery; however, the multimodality treatment provided increased overall survival. Surgically fit octogenarians should be considered for chemoradiation therapy followed by surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5875-5886
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Thoracic Disease
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Chemoradiation therapy
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Esophagectomy
  • Octogenarians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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