JOURNAL ARTICLE

Clinicopathologic characteristics and survival of patients with clinical Stage I squamous cell carcinomas of the thoracic esophagus treated with three-field lymph node dissection

H Igaki, H Kato, Y Tachimori, H Daiko, M Fukaya, S Yajima, Y Nakanishi
European Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery 2001, 20 (6): 1089-94
11717009

OBJECTIVE: Clinicopathologic characteristics and survival rates of patients with clinical Stage I tumors treated with three-field lymph node dissection have not been well investigated. This report documents the results of a series of cases of clinical Stage I squamous cell carcinomas treated with this surgical procedure in our institute.

METHODS: From January 1988 to March 1997, 326 patients with carcinomas of the thoracic esophagus underwent transthoracic esophagectomy with three-field lymph node dissection. Two hundred and ninety-seven (91%) of these had squamous cell carcinomas. Fifty-seven (18%) patients with clinical Stage I squamous cell carcinomas of the thoracic esophagus were retrospectively reviewed here.

RESULTS: Among 57 clinical Stage I squamous cell carcinomas, ten (18%) were diagnosed as T1-mucosal and 47 (83%) as T1-submucosal. Seventy percent of the patients with clinical T1-mucosal tumors had additional primary esophageal lesions. The operative morbidity and in-hospital mortality rates were 63 and 0%, and the overall 1-, 3-, 5-, and 10-year survival rates were 95, 86, 78, and 70%, respectively. Of the 57 tumors assessed pathologically, 12 (21%) were T1-mucosal, 42 (74%) were T1-submucosal, and three (5%) were T2. Nineteen (33%) exhibited lymph node metastasis. The 1-, 3-, 5-, and 10-year survival rates for patients with lymph node metastasis were 90, 79, 73, and 58%, respectively, as compared with 97, 90, 80, and 76, respectively for patients without lymph node metastasis (P=0.24). The accuracy of preoperative staging, based on both wall penetration and the status regarding lymph node metastasis, was 63%. With reference to the 1997 UICC-TNM staging system, 36 (63%) were pStage I, two (4%) were pStage IIA, 18 (28%) were pStage IIB, and three (6%) were pStage IVB. The 1-, 3-, 5-, and 10-year survival rates for patients with pStage I disease were 97, 92, 85, and 81%, respectively. In those with pStage II or IV disease, the values were 91, 76, 65, and 52%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Three-field lymph node dissection may be indicated even for patients with clinical Stage I squamous cell carcinoma requiring surgical intervention because this surgical procedure provides for possible cure by removing unsuspected lymph node metastasis.

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