Background: We assessed the use of external beam radiotherapy, brachytherapy chemoradiotherapy and chemotherapy in patients with metastatic esophageal cancer and evaluated the effect on overall survival.
Methods: We included all patients diagnosed with synchronous metastatic esophageal cancer in the south of the Netherlands between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 2013. Proportions of patients treated with external beam radiotherapy, brachytherapy, chemoradiotherapy and chemotherapy were described with respect to the period of diagnosis, patient and tumor characteristics. Independent risk factors for death were discriminated.
Results: A total of 1020 patients were included, 61.5% of these patients received palliative treatment with external beam radiotherapy, chemoradiotherapy, brachytherapy and/or chemotherapy. The use of external beam radiotherapy decreased from 44.5% in 1994 to 22.2% in 2013 (p = 0.0001), whereas the use of chemoradiotherapy increased from 2.9% in 1994 to 19.1% in 2013 (p < 0.0001). The prescription of systemic chemotherapy as single modality increased from 13.9% to 30.5% (p < 0.0001). The use of brachytherapy decreased from 20.9% in 1994 to 7.4% in 2013 (p = 0.0013). The odds of receiving external beam radiotherapy, brachytherapy, chemoradiotherapy and chemotherapy were influenced by different tumor and patient characteristics, such as age, gender, histologic subtype and number of metastatic sites. The median overall survival in patients with metastatic esophageal cancer significantly improved over time from 18 weeks (one-year survival rate 14.4%) in 1994–1998 to 25 weeks (one-year survival rate 22.4%) in 2009–2013. Patients treated with chemoradiotherapy had the most favorable prognosis, followed by patients treated with chemotherapy as a single modality.
Conclusion: The median overall survival of patients diagnosed with metastatic esophageal cancer improved from 18 weeks in 1994–1998 to 25 weeks in 2009–2013. Although this increase could be attributed to stage migration, our population-based study suggests that major changes in treatment strategies and appropriate patient selection might have played a role as well.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1080/0284186X.2016.1176249, hdl.handle.net/1765/87114
Journal Acta Oncologica
Citation
Bernards, N, Haj Mohammad, N, Creemers, G.J.M, Rozema, T, Roukema, J.A, Nieuwenhuijzen, G.A.P, … Lemmens, V.E.P.P. (2016). Improvement in survival for patients with synchronous metastatic esophageal cancer in the south of the Netherlands from 1994 to 2013. Acta Oncologica, 55(9-10), 1161–1167. doi:10.1080/0284186X.2016.1176249