Research Papers:

The influence of marital status on the survival of patients with esophageal cancer: a population-based, propensity-matched study

Qing-Wei Zhang, Xiao-Lu Lin, Chi-Hao Zhang, Chen-Yue Tang, Xin-Tian Zhang, La-Mei Teng, Zhi-Zheng Ge _ and Xiao-Bo Li

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:62261-62273. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.19446

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Qing-Wei Zhang1,*, Xiao-Lu Lin1,5*, Chi-Hao Zhang2,*, Chen-Yue Tang3,*, Xin-Tian Zhang1,*, La-Mei Teng1,4,*, Zhi-Zheng Ge1 and Xiao-Bo Li1

1Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Key Laboratory of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Ministry of Health, Renji Hospital, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai Institute of Digestive Disease, Shanghai 200001, China

2Department of General Surgery, Shanghai Ninth People’s Hospital, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Baoshan 201999, Shanghai, China

3Department of Gastroenterology, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200000, China

4Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Liqun Clinical Medicine College, The Second Military Medical University, Liqun Hospital, Shanghai 200001, China

5Department of Digestive Endoscopy, Provincial Clinic Medical College, Fujian Medical University, Fujian Provincial Hospital, Fuzhou 350001, China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Zhi-Zheng Ge, email: [email protected]

Xiao-Bo Li, email: [email protected]

Keywords: esophageal cancer, marital status, SEER, OS, CSS

Received: February 22, 2017    Accepted: April 04, 2017    Published: July 22, 2017


Background and aims: Multiple studies have shown that marital status is associated with the survival of various types of cancer patients. However, there has not been adequate evidence of the association between marital status and the survival of patients with esophageal cancer (EC). We aimed to investigate the effect of marital status on survival of EC patients.

Methods: We identified 15,598 EC patients from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database. Meanwhile, propensity scores for marital status, which were calculated for each patient using a nonparsimonious multivariable logistic regression model, were used to match 6,319 unmarried patients with 9,279 married patients. We performed Kaplan–Meier analysis and multivariate Cox regression to analyze the association between marital status and the overall survival (OS) and EC cause-specific survival (CSS) of EC patients before matching and after matching.

Results: We matched 2,986 unmarried patients with 2,986 married patients. Unmarried patients had poorer OS than married patients before matching (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.22; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.18–1.27; P < 0.0001) and after matching (HR: 1.20; 95% CI: 1.13–1.27; P < 0.0001) and poorer CSS than married patients before matching (HR: 1.21; 95% CI: 1.16–1.26; P < 0.0001) and after matching (HR: 1.17; 95% CI: 1.10–1.24; P < 0.0001). Further analysis showed that among different unmarried patients, widowed patients had the poorest OS (HR: 1.46; 95% CI: 1.38–1.55; P < 0.0001) and CSS (HR: 1.43; 95% CI: 1.34–1.52; P < 0.0001) compared with married patients.

Conclusions: Unmarried EC patients had poorer survival rates than married EC patients. Meanwhile, widowed patients with EC had the highest risk of death compared with single, married, and divorced patients.

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