Article Abstract

The role of postoperative radiotherapy for radically resected esophageal squamous cell carcinoma: a systemic review and meta-analysis

Authors: Tingting Liu, Wen Liu, Hongwei Zhang, Chengbo Ren, Jun Chen, Jun Dang


Background: The role of postoperative radiotherapy (PORT) for radical resected esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) remains controversial. This meta-analysis aims to determine whether PORT achieves survival benefit compared with surgery alone (S alone) for radically resected ESCC.
Methods: The PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library were searched for relevant articles. The primary endpoints were overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS), reported as hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Results: Six randomized trials and 13 retrospective studies that included a total of 8,198 patients were eligible. PORT provided significant OS benefit compared with S alone in retrospective studies (HR =0.75, 95% CI: 0.65–0.85), but not in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) (HR =0.94, 95% CI: 0.81–1.09). PORT was associated with significantly improved DFS and obvious reduction in the risk of locoregional recurrence compared to S alone in either retrospective studies or RCTs. In the subgroup analysis for retrospective studies, PORT gained superior OS in patients with lymph node-positive (pN+), patients with lymph node-negative (pN0) or pT2–3N0, PORT with three-dimensional radiotherapy (3D-RT), PORT with chemotherapy, and patients with R0 resection, respectively.
Conclusions: The present study shows that PORT can improve DFS and decrease risk of locoregional recurrence in patients with radically resected ESCC, and PORT using 3D-RT or in combination with chemotherapy is likely to be more useful. Further well-designed, prospective studies are needed to confirm the effect of PORT on OS.