Prognostic factors in the nonsurgical treatment of esophageal carcinoma with radiotherapy or radiochemotherapy

The importance of pretreatment hemoglobin levels




The current study was performed to evaluate prognostic factors for overall survival (OS), distant metastasis (DM), and local failure (LF) in patients with Stage II/III esophageal carcinoma.


The following potential prognostic factors were retrospectively investigated in 124 patients treated with radiotherapy (RT) alone or with radiochemotherapy: age, gender, performance status, tumor location, tumor length, histology, histologic grade, T classification, N classification, International Union Against Cancer stage, chemotherapy, RT dose, and pre-RT hemoglobin level.


Using univariate analysis (Kaplan–Meier method), pre-RT hemoglobin level, RT dose, tumor length, chemotherapy, and performance status were significantly associated with OS. Hemoglobin levels of 12.1–14.0 g/dL were associated with the best OS, followed by ≥ 14.1 g/dL and ≤ 12.0 g/dL. DM was significantly influenced by tumor length, RT dose, N classification, and performance status. LF was significantly influenced by pre-RT hemoglobin level, RT dose, and tumor length. Using multivariate analysis (Cox proportional hazard model), pre-RT hemoglobin maintained significance for OS (P < 0.001) and LF (P < 0.001), RT dose for OS (P = 0.001), DM (P = 0.031), and LF (P < 0.001), tumor length for OS (P = 0.003), DM (P = 0.017), and LF (P = 0.033), and chemotherapy for OS (P = 0.027). N classification was of borderline significance for DM (P = 0.054). Performance status lost significance for OS (P = 0.73) and LF (P = 0.22).


The strongest predictors for outcome in Stage II/III esophageal carcinoma were RT dose, tumor length, pre-RT hemoglobin level, and chemotherapy. The pre-RT hemoglobin level was an independent prognostic factor significantly associated with OS and LF. A hemoglobin level of 12.1–14 g/dL resulted in a better prognosis than hemoglobin levels ≥ 14 g/dL and ≤ 12 g/dL. Cancer 2005. © 2005 American Cancer Society.