Managed Clinical Network for esophageal cancer enables reduction of variation between hospitals trends in treatment strategies, lead time, and 2-year survival

Jolanda C. van Hoeve, Rob H. A. Verhoeven, Wouter B. Nagengast, Vera Oppedijk, Mitchell G. Lynch, Johan M. van Rooijen, Patrick Veldhuis, Sabine Siesling, Ewout A. Kouwenhoven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: Despite evidence-based guidelines, variation in esophageal cancer care exists in daily practice. Many oncology networks deployed regional agreements to standardize the patient care pathway and reduce unwarranted clinical variation. The aim of this study was to explore the trends in variation of esophageal cancer care between participating hospitals of the Managed Clinical Network (MCN) in the Netherlands. Materials and methods: Patients with esophageal cancer diagnosed from 2012 to 2016 were selected from the Netherlands Cancer Registry. Variation on treatment strategies, lead time to start of treatment, and 2-year survival, were calculated and compared between five clusters of hospitals within the network. Results: A total of 1763 patients, diagnosed in 17 hospitals, were included. 71% of all patients received treatment with a curative intent, which ranged from 69% to 77% between the clusters of hospitals in 2015–2016. Although variation in treatment modalities between the clusters was observed in 2012–2014, no significant variation existed in 2015–2016, except for patients receiving no treatment at all. The 2-year overall survival of patients receiving treatment with a curative intent did not vary significantly between the clusters of hospitals (range: 56%–63%). Nevertheless, the median lead time before patients started treatment with a curative intent varied between clusters of hospitals in 2015–2016 (range: 34–47 days; p < 0.001). Conclusion: Limited variation in esophageal cancer treatment between clusters of hospitals in the MCN existed. This study shows that oncology networks can promote standardization of cancer care and reduce variation between hospitals through insight into variation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-112
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number1
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • Esophageal cancer
  • Oncology network
  • Variation

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