Background & Aims: Surgery is the standard of care for T1bN0M0 esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), whereas chemoradiotherapy (CRT) is a treatment option. This trial aimed to investigate the noninferiority of CRT relative to surgery for T1bN0M0 ESCC. Methods: Clinical T1bN0M0 ESCC patients were eligible for enrollment in this prospective nonrandomized controlled study of surgery versus CRT. The primary endpoint was overall survival, which was determined using inverse probability weighting with propensity scoring. Surgery consisted of an esophagectomy with 2- or 3-field lymph node dissection. CRT consisted of 2 courses of 5-fluorouracil (700 mg/m2) on days 1–4 and cisplatin (70 mg/m2) on day 1 every 4 weeks with concurrent radiation (60 Gy). Results: From December 20, 2006 to February 5, 2013, a total of 368 patients were enrolled in the nonrandomized portion of the study. The patient characteristics in surgery arm and CRT arm, respectively, were as follows: median age, 62 and 65 years; proportion of males, 82.8% and 88.1%; and proportion of performance status 0, 99.5% and 98.1%. Comparisons were made using the nonrandomized groups. The 5-year overall survival rate was 86.5% in the surgery arm and 85.5% in the CRT arm (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.05; 95% confidence interval, 0.67–1.64 [<1.78]). The complete response rate in the CRT arm was 87.3% (95% confidence interval, 81.1–92.1). The 5-year progression-free survival rate was 81.7% in the surgery arm and 71.6% in the CRT arm. Treatment-related deaths occurred in 2 patients in the surgery arm and none in the CRT arm. Conclusions: CRT is noninferior to surgery and should be considered for the treatment of T1bN0M0 ESCC.
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