Esophageal Cancer Treatment Is Underutilized Among Elderly Patients in the USA

Daniela Molena, Miloslawa Stem, Amanda L. Blackford, Anne O Lidor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objectives: Large numbers of elderly patients in the USA receive no treatment for esophageal cancer, despite evidence that multimodality treatment can increase survival. Our goal is to identify factors that may contribute to lack of treatment. Materials and Methods: Using Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)-Medicare Linked Database (2001−2009), we identified regional esophageal cancer patients ≥65 years old. Treatment was defined as receiving any medical or surgical therapy for esophageal cancer. Logistic regression analysis was performed to identify factors associated with failure to receive treatment. Overall survival (OS) was analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method and Cox proportional hazard model. Results: There were 5072 patients (median age, 75 years; interquartile range (IQR), 71–81 years). Majority were treated with definitive chemoradiation (48.49 %). Factors associated with lack of treatment included West geographic region and ≥80 years old. Patients who received therapy had better OS (log-rank, p < 0.001). Compared with treated patients, non-treated patients had worse adjusted OS (HR, 1.43; 95 % confidence interval (CI), 1.33–1.55; p < 0.001). Conclusions: Elderly patients with locally advanced esophageal cancer who received treatment had improved 5-year survival compared with patients without treatment. Disparities in utilization of treatment are associated with regional and socioeconomic factors, not presence of comorbidities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-136
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Disparities in care
  • Elderly
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Survival
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Gastroenterology


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