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World J Surg. 2010 Apr;34(4):744-9. doi: 10.1007/s00268-010-0407-6.

Presentation and survival of operable esophageal cancer in patients 55 years of age and below.

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Upper GI Surgery Department, St Thomas' Hospital, Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7EH, UK.



The increased incidence of esophageal cancer, especially in the younger age group, should encourage early diagnosis. The perceived rarity and poor prognostic outcome of esophageal cancer in this group is based on retrospective studies. The goal of this study was to review the presentation and survival of young patients with esophageal cancer.


This study was conducted from 2000 to 2007 in a specialized esophagogastric center. All patients who had esophageal cancer operations were included. Variables collected included ages, duration of symptoms, presenting symptoms, tumor characteristics, and follow-up data.


In total, 365 esophagectomies were performed for cancer, of which 76 patients were younger than aged 55 years (20.8%) and 289 were older than aged 55 years. In patients younger than aged 55 years, 15 patients had symptoms for 6 months or more, 54 had dysphagia, 35 had weight loss compared with 220 and 175 respectively of patients older than aged 55 years. On histopathology, 48 had T3 tumors (63.2%), 17 had T2 (22.4%), and 10 had T1 (13.2%) for patients younger than aged 55 years compared with 141 had T3 (48.7%), 85 had T2 (29.4%), and 55 had T1 (19%) for patients older than aged 55 years. These differences in tumor stage at presentation between groups were significant (p < 0.05 with 3DF). In-hospital mortality was 0 for the group younger than aged 55 years and 5 for those older than aged 55 years. Average follow-up was 35 (minimum, 15) months. Thirty patients had locoregional recurrence in the first group and 110 in the latter group. Survival at 1 year after surgery was 79.6%, at 2 years 65.1%, and at 5 years 42.3% compared with 78.4, 60.6, and 45.9%, respectively, for the group older than aged 55 years, but this was not significant using log-rank (p = 0.99).


A significant proportion (20.8%) of patients presenting with operable esophageal cancer was younger than aged 55 years. Almost two-thirds of those presenting younger than aged 55 years had T3 stage tumors, which was significantly different than those older than aged 55 years. Despite more advanced tumor stage at presentation, the prognosis of esophageal cancer for patients younger than aged 55 years is similar to those older than aged 55 years (log-rank = 0.99).

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