Esophagectomy and definitive chemoradiotherapy are recognized standard initial treatment modalities for cervical esophageal cancer. The goal of this study was to compare the treatment outcomes of curative surgery with those of chemoradiotherapy in patients who had potentially resectable tumor and who were candidates for surgery.We evaluated the data from 49 consecutive patients who were diagnosed with potentially resectable cervical esophageal cancer and who were deemed candidates for surgery. Thirteen patients were included in the surgery group, and 36 patients were included in chemoradiotherapy group. Baseline characteristics were balanced between the two groups. In the chemoradiotherapy group, the complete response rate was 58.3%. There was no significant difference in 5-year overall survival when comparing the surgery group and the chemoradiotherapy group (surgery, 60.6%; chemoradiotherapy, 51.4%; P=0.89). In the chemoradiotherapy group, of the 15 patients who failed to respond to initial treatment, 11 patients subsequently underwent salvage surgery. In conclusion, curative surgery and chemoradiotherapy as initial treatment for cervical esophageal cancer have comparable survival outcomes. Chemoradiotherapy should be selected as the initial larynx-preserving treatment for patients with cervical esophageal cancer although chemoradiotherapy non-responders require additional treatment, including salvage surgery.
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