Management of esophageal cancer in patients aged over 80 years

Alberto Ruol, Giuseppe Portale, Carlo Castoro, Stefano Merigliano, Francesco Cavallin, Giorgio Battaglia, Silvia Michieletto, Ermanno Ancona

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Important advances in the management of cancer of the esophagus and esophagogastric junction have occurred in the last decades, making treatment possible even in elderly patients. Unfortunately there is little information on management of esophageal cancer in octogenarian patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the treatment results of esophageal and esophagogastric junction cancer in a single institution over a 14-year period in patients ≥80 years of age. Methods: Clinicopathological characteristics and management strategies were studied in patients ≥80 years old with cancer of the esophagus or esophagogastric junction, referred to our department and treated between 1992 and 2005. Results: There were 62 patients ≥80 years: 12 underwent surgical resection and 50 were not resected. There were no perioperative deaths. The morbidity rate was 33%. Most non-resected patients had an endoscopic prosthesis. The median survival for the overall group was 5.4 months: 14.6 and 5.1 in resected and non-resected patients, respectively. Conclusions: Even in octogenarian patients - with limited comorbidities and fit for surgery - esophagectomy may be regarded as a valid treatment option. Unfortunately this remains possible only in a small minority of 80-90-year old patients. In the remainder, endoscopic treatments - namely prosthesis placements, with chemoradiotherapy when possible - are the alternatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-448
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007


  • Elderly
  • Esophageal and esophagogastric junction cancer
  • Esophagectomy
  • Octogenarians
  • Palliation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery


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