Women Respond Better to Esophageal Cancer Treatment

October 18, 2017 by Elisa Becze BA, ELS, Editor

Women with locally advanced esophageal cancer that is treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy before surgery are more likely to have a favorable response to their cancer treatment and less likely to have recurrence than men are, according to the results of a study published in Annals of Thoracic Surgery (http://www.annalsthoracicsurgery.org/article/S0003-4975(17)30705-1/fulltext).

Esophageal cancer is four times more common in men than in women, and five-year survival rates hover around 20%.

The researchers analyzed data from 366 patients (145 women and 221 men). Seventy-two percent of the women and 87% of the men had adenocarcinoma (originating in gland cells in the lower esophagus), and 28% of women and 13% of men had squamous cell carcinoma (originating in the cells that line the esophagus).

Fifty-eight percent of women and 47% of men in either group had a complete or near complete pathologic response, but men had an 80% increased risk of recurrence. Although not statistically significant, women had a trend toward a superior five-year survival (52.1% of women versus 44.0% of men).

“By focusing on individualized and targeted approaches to esophageal cancer treatment, we may be more successful in improving outcomes for future patients,” the researchers concluded.

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