Objective: There is little information about the patterns of care for elderly esophageal squamous cell carcinoma patients, and a standardized strategy has not been established. Therefore,we conducted a questionnaire survey about the patterns of care for these patients. Methods: On September 2014, the questionnaires were sent to all 43 institutions of the Japan Esophageal Oncology Group, which comprised five parts: (i) definition of 'elderly' (age, method), (ii) basic treatment strategy according to stage and elderly status (fit/vulnerable/frail), (iii) patterns of care in each stage, (iv) considerations about conducting future clinical trials and (v) other information about geriatric oncology concerning esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Results: All answers were obtained by January 2015. Nearly half institutions (47%) considered the chronological definition of elderly to be over 80 years old. Among 43 institutions, 36 (84%) reported that the type of comorbidity and performance status were important factors for decision-making; no institution selected geriatric scale as an indicator. The most selected treatment strategy in fit healthy elderly patients was the same as the standard treatment of non-elderly patients. Radiation alonewas considered the main treatment for vulnerable and frail esophageal squamous cell carcinoma patients. Most of the institutions answered that clinical trials for the elderly are warranted. Most institutions (70%) chose Stage II/III (non-T4) esophageal squamous cell carcinoma as an important investigational target. Conclusions: Fit healthy elderly were considered the same as non-elderly patients, although there are no established treatment selection criteria. Radiation alone plays most important role in the treatment for vulnerable and frail esophageal squamous cell carcinoma patients. Stage II/III (non-T4) disease is attractive and warranted for future investigations.
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