Outcomes of octogenarians with esophageal cancer: An analysis of the National Cancer Database

C. T. Bakhos, A. C. Salami, L. R. Kaiser, R. V. Petrov, A. E. Abbas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The optimal treatment of esophageal cancer in octogenarians is controversial. While the safety of esophagectomy has been demonstrated in elderly patients, surgery and multimodality therapy are still offered to a select group. Additionally, the long-term outcomes in octogenarians have not been thoroughly compared to those in younger patients. We sought to compare the outcomes of esophageal cancer treatment between octogenarians and non-octogenarians in the National Cancer Database (2004.2014). The major endpoints were early postoperative mortality and long-term survival. A total of 107,921 patients were identified [octogenarian.16,388 (15.2%)]. Compared to non-octogenarians, octogenarians were more likely to be female, of higher socioeconomic status, and had more Charlson comorbidities (p < 0.001 for all). Octogenarians were significantly less likely to undergo esophagectomy (11.5% vs. 33.3%; p < 0.001) and multimodality therapy (2.0% vs. 18.5%; p < 0.001), a trend that persisted following stratification by tumor stage and Charlson comorbidities. Both 30-day and 90-day mortality were higher in the octogenarian group, even after multivariable adjustment (p ≤ 0.001 for both). Octogenarians who underwent multimodality therapy had worse long-term survival when compared to younger patients, except for those with stage III tumors and no comorbidities (HR: 1.29; p = 0.153). Within the octogenarian group, postoperative mortality was lower in academic centers, and the long-term survival was similar between multimodality treatment and surgery alone (HR: 0.96; p = 0.62). In conclusion, octogenarians are less likely to be offered treatment irrespective of tumor stage or comorbidities. Although octogenarians have higher early mortality and poorer overall survival compared to younger patients, outcomesmay be improved when treatment is performed at academic centers. Multimodality treatment did not seem to confer a survival advantage compared to surgery alone in octogenarians, and more prospective studies are necessary to better elucidate the optimal treatment in this patient population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalDiseases of the Esophagus
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 13 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • esophagectomy
  • geriatric
  • population
  • survival
  • trimodality therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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