Comparing 90-Day Postoperative Mortality After Neoadjuvant Proton-Based Versus Photon-Based Chemoradiotherapy for Esophageal Cancer

Pim J.J. Damen*, Peter S.N. van Rossum, Yiqing Chen, Chike O. Abana, Zhongxing Liao, Brian P. Hobbs, Radhe Mohan, Mariela Blum-Murphy, Wayne L. Hofstetter, Steven H. Lin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: Evidence suggests that proton-beam therapy (PBT) results in less toxicity and postoperative complications compared to photon-based radiotherapy in patients who receive chemoradiotherapy followed by esophagectomy for cancer. Ninety-day mortality (90DM) is an important measure of the postoperative (nononcologic) outcome as proxy of quality-of-care. We hypothesize that PBT could reduce 90DM compared to photon-based radiotherapy. Materials and Methods: From a single-center retrospective database patients treated with chemoradiotherapy before esophagectomy for cancer were selected (1998-2022). Univariable logistic regression was used to study the association of radiotherapy modality with 90DM. Three separate methods were applied to adjust for confounding bias, including multivariable logistic regression, propensity score matching, and inverse probability of treatment weighting. Stratified analysis for the age threshold that maximized the difference in 90DM (ie, ≥67 vs <67 years) was performed. Results: A total of 894 eligible patients were included and 90DM was 5/202 (2.5%) in the PBT versus 29/692 (4.2%) in the photon-based radiotherapy group (P = .262). After adjustment for age and tumor location, PBT versus photon-based radiotherapy was not significantly associated with 90DM (P = .491). The 90DM was not significantly different for PBT versus photon-based radiotherapy in the propensity score matching (P = .379) and inverse probability of treatment weighting cohort (P = .426). The stratified analysis revealed that in patients aged ≥67 years, PBT was associated with decreased 90DM (1.3% vs 8.8%; P = .026). Higher age significantly increased 90DM risk within the photon-based radiotherapy (8.8% vs 2.7%; P = .001), but not within the PBT group (1.3% vs 3.2%; P = .651). Conclusion: No statistically significant difference was observed in postoperative 90DM after esophagectomy for cancer between PBT and photon-based neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy. However, among older patients a signal was observed that PBT may reduce 90DM risk.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100012
JournalInternational Journal of Particle Therapy
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024
Externally publishedYes

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