BackgroundEndoscopic treatment (ET) is an alternative for selected patients with early-stage esophageal cancer. The primary aim of this study was to compare overall survival (OS) and esophageal cancer-specific survival (ECSS) of such patients after ET or esophagectomy.MethodsPropensity score matching (PSM) and Cox regression analysis were used to compare OS and ECSS of 2661 patients with ET or esophagectomy for early-stage (Tis–T1N0M0) disease. Patient information was retrieved from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database. Subgroup analyses by T stage and tumor histology were also performed.ResultsThere were significant differences in age, sex ratio, year of diagnosis, cancer site, cancer stage, differentiation grade, tumor histology, tumor size, lymph nodes examined, and receipt of radiation therapy in the two treatment groups. PSM created 621 patient pairs. Multivariate analysis found no significant differences in OS (HR = 1.216, P = 0.279) or ECSS (HR = 0.692, P = 0.179) in the esophagectomy and ET groups. The results were similar for subgroup analyses limited to stage Tis, T1a, and T1b patients. ET was also associated with similar OS and ECSS in esophageal adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma patients.ConclusionIn this population-based study using PSM, patients with stage Tis and T1N0M0 esophageal cancer with ET had OS and ECSS comparable to those treated by esophagectomy after adjusting for clinical variables. The results support ET as an alternative to esophagectomy in early esophageal cancer.