Does endoesophageal ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration replace mediastinoscopy in mediastinal staging of thoracic malignancies?

Biruta Witte, Wolfgang Neumeister, Martin Huertgen
European Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery 2008, 33 (6): 1124-8

OBJECTIVE: To determine the impact of endoesophageal ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) on management of thoracic malignancies.

METHODS: One hundred and twenty patients referred for invasive diagnostic and resection of thoracic malignancies were studied prospectively. Negative and inconclusive EUS-FNA findings were assessed by video-assisted mediastinoscopic lymphadenectomy (VAMLA) or open lymphadenectomy.

RESULTS: One hundred and twenty patients, aged 64.1 years (range 38-85) underwent 120 EUS-FNA, 53 video-assisted mediastinoscopic and 48 open lymphadenectomies for diagnosis and treatment of 99 lung carcinoma, six lung metastases, five mesothelioma, three lymphoma, and eight other conditions. EUS-FNA showed T4 in 15/120 and adrenal or hepatic metastases in 9/120 cases. Prevalence of mediastinal lymph node metastases was 51.7%. EUS-FNA false-negative rate was 25.3%. EUS-FNA sensitivity was 91.7%, 78.1% and 43.8% for bulky disease, enlarged mediastinal nodes or normal nodes on CT scan, 50% and 96.6% for right- and left-sided tumours, and 80.6%, 78.9%, 23.8% and 25.0% for the lymph node stations 7, 5/6, 4R, and 4L. A 38.3% respectively 100% cut-down of mediastinoscopies leads in 7.5% respectively 20.8% to incorrect treatment decisions.

CONCLUSIONS: EUS-FNA sensitivity depends on the localisation of the primary tumour, and extent and location of mediastinal disease. For left-sided tumours, EUS-FNA improves mediastinal staging by assessing stations 5 and 6 inaccessible to conventional mediastinoscopy. For extended mediastinal disease, mediastinoscopy can be avoided or spared for restaging after neoadjuvant therapy. Exclusion of mediastinal involvement requires mediastinoscopy or open lymphadenectomy. Beyond mediastinal nodal staging, EUS-FNA may detect T4 and M1 situations. Thus, EUS-FNA is a useful supplement to and not the replacement of mediastinoscopy.

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