Background: Most elderly patients poorly tolerate the standard treatment for esophageal cancer; however, little information is available regarding the appropriateness of non-standard esophageal cancer treatments for those patients. This study aims to analyze the treatment costs and completion rates of patients undergoing a real-world treatment for esophageal cancer to elucidate the treatment selection and its quality. Materials and methods: We analyzed treatment costs and completion rates for patients with esophageal cancer and analyzed these data relative to patient age and center volumes. Patients with esophageal cancer [UICC, TMN, Clinical stage II/III (excluding T4)] who were diagnosed in 2013 were analyzed. Patients were classified into five groups defined as follows: surgical therapy, chemotherapy, concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT), modified concurrent chemoradiotherapy (mCRT), and radiotherapy (RT). Results: Mean and median age of patients who received surgery and CCRT were comparable; however, patients who underwent mCRT and RT tended to be older. Medical costs associated with surgery were higher than costs associated with other non-surgical treatments. Cost and completion rate of chemoradiotherapy did not differ between CCRT and mCRT; however, both had higher completion rates compared to that of RT. Surgical expenses tended to be the highest in low-volume centers and the lowest in high-volume centers. Conclusion: Treatment of esophageal cancer at high-volume centers seems well balanced compared with medium- to low-volume centers. mCRT was widely performed and comparable in medical cost to CCRT, although additional clinical impacts were unclear.
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