Risk stratification of postoperative cardiopulmonary toxicity after trimodality therapy for esophageal cancer

Roman O. Kowalchuk, Grant M. Spears, Lindsay K. Morris, Dawn Owen, Harry H. Yoon, Krishan Jethwa, Michael D. Chuong, Matthew J. Ferris, Michael G. Haddock, Christopher L. Hallemeier, Dennis Wigle, Steven H. Lin, Kenneth W. Merrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose/objective: Postoperative toxicity for esophageal cancer impacts patient quality of life and potentially overall survival (OS). We studied whether patient and toxicity parameters post-chemoradiation therapy predict for post-surgical cardiopulmonary total toxicity burden (CPTTB) and whether CPTTB was associated with short and long-term outcomes. Materials/methods: Patients had biopsy-proven esophageal cancer treated with neoadjuvant chemoradiation and esophagectomy. CPTTB was derived from total perioperative toxicity burden (Lin et al. JCO 2020). To develop a CPTTB risk score predictive for major CPTTB, recursive partitioning analysis was used. Results: From 3 institutions, 571 patients were included. Patients were treated with 3D (37%), IMRT (44%), and proton therapy (19%). 61 patients had major CPTTB (score ≥ 70). Increasing CPTTB was predictive of decreased OS (p<0.001), lengthier post-esophagectomy length of stay (LOS, p<0.001), and death or readmission within 60 days of surgery (DR60, p<0.001). Major CPTTB was also predictive of decreased OS (hazard ratio = 1.70, 95% confidence interval: 1.17-2.47, p=0.005). The RPA-based risk score included: age ≥ 65, grade ≥ 2 nausea or esophagitis attributed to chemoradiation, and grade ≥ 3 hematologic toxicity attributed to chemoradiation. Patients treated with 3D radiotherapy had inferior OS (p=0.010) and increased major CPTTB (18.5% vs. 6.1%, p<0.001). Conclusion: CPTTB predicts for OS, LOS, and DR60. Patients with 3D radiotherapy or age ≥ 65 years and chemoradiation toxicity are at highest risk for major CPTTB, predicting for higher short and long-term morbidity and mortality. Strategies to optimize medical management and reduce toxicity from chemoradiation should be strongly considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1081024
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
StatePublished - Feb 9 2023


  • cardiac toxicity
  • esophagus
  • modeling
  • outcomes
  • radiotherapy toxicity
  • trimodality therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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