The optimal treatment of esophageal cancer is still controversial. Neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy followed by radical esophagectomy is a standard treatment. Morbidity after esophagectomy however is still considerable and has an impact on patients' quality of life. Given a pathologic complete response rate of approximately 30% in patients after neoadjuvant chemoradiation followed by surgery, active surveillance has been introduced as a new alternative approach. Active surveillance involves regular clinical response evaluations in patients after neoadjuvant therapy to detect residual or recurrent disease. As long as there is no suspicion of disease activity, surgery is withheld. Esophagectomy is reserved for patients presenting with an incomplete response or resectable recurrent disease. Active surveillance after neoadjuvant treatment has been previously applied in other types of malignancy with encouraging results. This paper discusses its role in esophageal cancer.

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Annals of Gastroenterological Surgery
Department of Surgery