Lymph node metastasis and recurrence in patients with a carcinoma of the thoracic esophagus who underwent three-field dissection

H Fujita, T Kakegawa, H Yamana, I Shima, H Tanaka, S Ikeda, S Nogami, Y Toh
World Journal of Surgery 1994, 18 (2): 266-72
The indication, efficacy, and extent of extended lymphadenectomy for a carcinoma in the thoracic esophagus remain controversial and under clinical investigation. Here we report the frequency and mode of lymph node metastasis at operation and of lymph node recurrence after operation in 70 patients who underwent three-field dissection and 75.7% of whom suffered from metastasis or recurrence in the lymph nodes (metastasis in 71.4% and recurrence in 21.4%). Metastasis or recurrence in the cervical and cervicothoracic nodes were found in 18.6% and 41.4%, respectively. The frequency of cervical and cervicothoracic lymph node metastasis or recurrence was, respectively, 40.0% and 90.0% for a carcinoma in the upper thoracic esophagus, 21.6% and 37.8% for a carcinoma in the middle thoracic esophagus, and 4.3% and 26.1% for a carcinoma in the lower thoracic esophagus. Lymph node metastasis at operation was most frequently found in the right recurrent nerve nodes, right paracardiac nodes, periesophageal nodes, and lesser curvature nodes, whereas lymph node recurrence after operation was found in the left upper recurrent nerve nodes and the right supraclavicular, celiac, and abdominal paraaortic nodes. Metastasis or recurrence was rarely found in the internal jugular, pretracheal, greater curvature, common hepatic, or splenic nodes. This finding suggests the need for recurrent nerve node dissection for all cases and for three-field dissection for a carcinoma in the upper or middle thoracic esophagus.

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