This study assessed the associations between hospital volume, resection rate and survival of oesophageal and gastric cancer patients in England.
62 811 patients diagnosed with oesophageal or gastric cancer between 2004 and 2008 were identified from a national population-based cancer registration and Hospital Episode Statistics-linked dataset. Cox regression analyses were used to assess all-cause mortality according to hospital volume and resection rate, adjusting for case-mix variables (sex, age, socioeconomic deprivation, comorbidity and type of cancer). HRs and 95% CIs, according to hospital volume, were evaluated for three predefined periods following surgery: <30, 30-365, and >365 days. Analysis of mortality in relation to resection rate was performed among all patients and among the 13 189 (21%) resected patients.
Increasing hospital volume was associated with lower mortality (p(trend)=0.0001; HR 0.87, 95% CI 0.79 to 0.95 for hospitals resecting 80+ and compared with <20 patients a year). In relative terms, the association between increasing hospital volume and lower mortality was particularly strong in the first 30 days following surgery (p(trend)<0.0001; HR 0.52, (0.39 to 0.70)), but a clinically relevant association remained beyond 1 year (p(trend)=0.0011; HR 0.82, (0.72 to 0.95)). Increasing resection rates were associated with lower mortality among all patients (p(trend)<0.0001; HR 0.86, (0.84 to 0.89) for the highest, compared with the lowest resection quintile).
With evidence of lower short-term and longer-term mortality for patients resected in high-volume hospitals, this study supports further centralisation of oesophageal and gastric cancer surgical services in England.
2013. Vol. 62, no 7, 961-966 p.