Induction Radiation Therapy for Esophageal Cancer: Does Dose Affect Outcomes?

Tara R. Semenkovich, Pamela P. Samson, Jessica L. Hudson, Melanie Subramanian, Bryan F. Meyers, Benjamin D. Kozower, Daniel Kreisel, G. Alexander Patterson, Clifford G. Robinson, Jeffrey D. Bradley, Varun Puri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Wide variation is seen in the dosage of preoperative induction radiation therapy for esophageal cancer. We investigated associations between outcomes after esophagectomy and dosage of induction radiation therapy. Methods: Patients undergoing induction radiation therapy (30 to 70 Gy), followed by esophagectomy, were identified from the National Cancer Database and classified as low (<40 Gy), standard (40 to 50.4 Gy), and high dose (>50.4 Gy). Perioperative outcomes and overall survival were compared. Subgroup analysis compared two common dosages: 45 Gy and 50.4 Gy. Results: From 2004 to 2014, 10,738 patients (84.7%) received standard-dose radiation, increasing from 69.7% in 2004 to 93.6% in 2014 (p < 0.001), 1,329 (10.5%) received low-dose radiation, and 608 (4.8%) received high-dose radiation. Higher rates of pathologic complete response (pCR; low: 11.7%, standard: 16.2%, high: 21.0%; p < 0.001) and downstaging (low: 52.0%, standard: 56.4%, high: 63.1%, p = 0.001) were observed as the dosage increased. On multivariable analysis, compared with standard-dose, high-dose radiation was associated with higher 30-day mortality (odds ratio [OR], 2.11; p < 0.001) without a higher likelihood of downstaging or pCR. Low-dose radiation was associated with lower likelihood of downstaging (OR, 0.85; p = 0.04) and pCR (OR, 0.67; p < 0.001) without lowering the risk of 30-day mortality. The dose of 50.4 Gy was associated with higher likelihood of pCR (OR, 1.12; p = 0.04), without affecting 30-day mortality, compared with 45 Gy. Conclusions: High-dose induction radiation (>50.4 Gy) is associated with increased perioperative death after esophagectomy, without a significant improvement in tumor response. Low-dose radiation (<30 Gy) is associated with worse tumor response without a lower risk of perioperative death. Within standard dosages, 50.4 Gy is associated with higher likelihood of pCR without adversely affecting perioperative mortality compared with 45 Gy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-911
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Induction Radiation Therapy for Esophageal Cancer: Does Dose Affect Outcomes?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this