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Ann Surg Oncol. 2012 Feb;19(2):684-92. doi: 10.1245/s10434-011-2005-8. Epub 2011 Aug 12.

Risk of thromboembolic events after perioperative chemotherapy versus surgery alone for esophageal adenocarcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.



Major oncologic surgery is associated with a high incidence of thromboembolic events (TEE). Addition of perioperative chemotherapy in esophageal cancer surgery may increase the risk of TEE.


The thromboembolic toxicity profile was analyzed in patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). Two groups were identified: patients who underwent esophagectomy and received perioperative chemotherapy with epirubicin, cisplatin, and capecitabine (ECC; n = 52), and patients who were treated with surgery alone (n = 35).


A total of 22 TEEs was observed in 17 patients (32.7%) in the chemotherapy group and 3 patients (7.5%) in the surgery-alone group (P < .01). The relative risk of developing a TEE for patients receiving perioperative chemotherapy during the whole treatment period was 3.8 (95% confidence interval 1.2-12.0). A preoperatively occurring TEE did not increase the risk of postoperative TEE, nor did it increase postoperative hospital stay (P = .325). Median postoperative hospital stay was 23 days (range 14-78) for patients with a postoperative TEE and 15 days (range 10-105) for patients without TEE (P = .126). Perioperative chemotherapy with the epirubicin, cisplatin, and capecitabine regimen was independently associated with the development of TEE in the combined preoperative and postoperative period (P = .034).


Perioperative chemotherapy improves survival for operable esophageal cancer but comes at the price of toxicity. Perioperative chemotherapy for EAC increases the risk of TEE. However, chemotherapy-related preoperative TEE did not increase the risk of postoperative TEE, nor did it increase postoperative hospital stay, justifying its use in clinical practice.

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