Outcomes of active operation during intensive followup for second primary malignancy after esophagectomy for thoracic squamous cell esophageal carcinoma

Satoru Motoyama, Reijiro Saito, Michihiko Kitamura, Jun-ichi Ogawa
Journal of the American College of Surgeons 2003, 197 (6): 914-20

BACKGROUND: Recent advances in the treatment of thoracic esophageal cancer have afforded it a better prognosis. As a consequence, increasing attention is being paid to the outcomes with postoperative monitoring for second primary malignancies after esophagectomy, but no recent study has focused on the longterm followup and outcomes in these patients.

STUDY DESIGN: In 1989, we began intensive prospective screening and surveillance designed to detect cancers of the head and neck, lung, stomach, residual esophagus, and colon/rectum after esophagectomy. Between 1989 and 2001, 365 patients underwent esophagectomy for thoracic squamous cell esophageal carcinoma in our department. Of those, 200 were followed up as part of this program. Excluded were patients in whom esophageal cancer recurred, patients with other prior or simultaneous malignancies, and patients who died within a year of operation. Clinicopathologic profiles and treatment outcomes were determined for 33 patients who developed a second primary malignancy after esophagectomy.

RESULTS: The interval between the primary esophageal cancer and the secondary carcinoma was 49 +/- 40 months (median, 48 months). The second primary malignancies were located in the stomach (30%), head and neck (24%), lung (24%), colon/rectum (9%), liver (6%), pancreas (3%), and blood (6%). Twenty-one patients (64%) were classified as stage 0, I, or II; 10 (30%) were stage III or IV. Overall, the 2-year, 3-year, and 5-year survival rates following diagnosis of a second primary malignancy were 58.0%, 58.0%, and 48.6%, respectively. Of the 19 patients (58%) in whom second primary malignancies were detected before symptoms developed, the 5-year survival rate was 70.7%, which was significantly greater than that among patients whose secondary malignancies were discovered after symptoms developed (17.1%).

CONCLUSIONS: Good outcomes in the treatment of second primary malignancies after esophagectomy for thoracic squamous cell esophageal carcinoma can be obtained with longterm, intensive followup and active surgical intervention for detected malignancies.

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