Surveillance versus esophagectomy in esophageal cancer patients with a clinical complete response after induction chemoradiation
There currently exists an area of controversy in treatment of esophageal cancer for patients who have an apparent clinical complete response (cCR) after induction chemoradiation. A standard treatment is to offer these patients an esophagectomy, but increasingly there is interest from both the patient and provider for active surveillance with so-called “salvage” esophagectomies for local recurrence as an alternative treatment paradigm. In this article, we review the existing evidence that stakeholders should consider for clinical decision-making in this specific patient population, including: the accuracy of post-induction clinical restaging, the reliability of operative risk assessment, the feasibility and adherence to surveillance strategies, and the observed outcomes in these patients after salvage esophagectomy or continued active surveillance. We also briefly discuss quality of life and future directions for this field.