A retrospective cohort study of endoscopic therapy and esophagectomy for stage 1 esophageal cancer: less is more

Justin C. McCarty, Robert K. Parker, Roberto J. Vidri, Kortney A. Robinson, Stuart Lipsitz, Sidhu P. Gangadharan, Prasad G. Iyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background and Aims: Current guidelines recommend consideration of endoscopic therapy (ET) when treating select stage I esophageal cancers. The proportion of esophageal cancers treated with ET compared with esophagectomy has increased over time. Overall and cancer-specific survival have not been shown to be superior with ET in prior population-based studies. We thus evaluated cancer-specific survival comparing patients treated with ET and esophagectomy. Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database from 2004 to 2015 of patients with node-negative, superficial (T1a/T1b), esophageal cancer treated with ET or esophagectomy. Competing-risks models were used to compare cancer-specific survival. Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess overall survival. Subgroup analysis was performed comparing time periods 2004 to 2009 and 2010 to 2015. Results: Of 2133 included individuals, 772 (36.2%) underwent ET and 1361 (63.8%) underwent esophagectomy. Unadjusted 5-year survival for cancer-specific death was 87.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 84.2-90.5) for ET and 82.4% (95% CI, 80.0- 84.5) for esophagectomy (P = .002). Within the adjusted competing-risk model, cancer-specific survival was superior in patients treated with ET compared with esophagectomy (subdistribution hazard ratio [SHR], 1.92; 95% CI, 1.35-2.74; P < .001). From 2004 to 2009, the SHR for esophagectomy was 1.68 (95% CI, 1.07-2.66; P = .024); whereas from 2010 to 2015, the SHR for esophagectomy was 2.02 (95% CI, 1.08-3.76; P = .027). Conclusions: ET was associated with improved cancer-specific survival compared with esophagectomy in stage I esophageal cancer. This advantage was more pronounced for patients treated after 2009, potentially because of increasing clinician expertise in performing ET and patient selection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-30
Number of pages8
JournalGastrointestinal endoscopy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology


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