Background: Rapid and complete workup of newly diagnosed esophageal cancer is vital for a timely, individual and high-quality treatment strategy. The aim of this study was to uncover potential delay, inefficiencies and non-contributing investigations in the diagnostic process in two tertiary referral centers. Methods: This retrospective cohort study included all newly diagnosed esophageal cancer patients referred to or diagnosed in the Amsterdam UMC and Karolinska University Hospital between July 2020 and July 2021. Radiology, pathological assessment and multidisciplinary team meeting reports were reviewed. To assess time interval from diagnosis to treatment, dates of diagnosis, admittance to referral hospital, MDT meeting and start of treatment were collected. Results: In total, 252 esophageal cancer patients were included, 187 were treated with curative intent. Curatively treated patients had a mean age of 66 years, were predominantly male (74.9 %) with an adenocarcinoma (71.1 %). Curatively treated patients had a median time from diagnosis to referral of seven days (IQR:0–11) and of 35 days (IQR:28–45) between diagnosis and start of treatment. Main reasons for the significant (P < 0.001) differences in time between diagnosis and treatment between centers, Amsterdam UMC (39 days) vs Karolinska (27 days), were need for additional diagnostics (47.8 %) and differences in referral routine. Gastroscopy was repeated in 32.2 % of patients, mainly for further anatomical mapping. Conclusion: Significant time differences between centers in the path from diagnosis to start treatment can be explained by differences in workup approach, referral routines and MDT meeting regulations. Repeat of gastroscopy can be prevented with clearer endoscopy guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107318
JournalEuropean Journal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024


  • Computer tomography (CT)
  • Diagnostic workup
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Multidisciplinary team (MDT)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)

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