Background: No consensus exists on the optimal treatment strategy for clinical T2-T3N0M0 esophageal cancer. This study was conducted to determine rates of nodal positivity (N+) and to evaluate results of treatment strategies in this cohort. Methods: Surgically treated patients with cT2-T3N0M0 esophageal cancer were reviewed. Adequacy of lymph node dissection was assessed by guidelines applied to clinical stage. Survival was determined by Kaplan-Meier analysis. Univariate and multivariate analyses were done for predictors of N+ and survival. Results: We identified 102 patients, 51 cT2N0 and 51 cT3N0, 39 (38%) of whom had induction therapy. Despite being clinically node negative, 61 patients (60%) had nodal metastases. Applied to cT classification, adequate nodal dissection was achieved in 64 patients (63%). Transthoracic esophagectomy was more likely than transhiatal esophagectomy to achieve adequate nodal dissection (69% versus 31%, p = 0.005). Adequate nodal dissection was more likely to document pN+ disease in both the surgery alone group (70% versus 50%, p = 0.13) and induction therapy group (71% versus 33%, p = 0.02). Five-year overall survival was 44% with surgery alone and 55% with induction therapy. On multivariate analysis, pN+ was the strongest predictor of overall survival (relative risk 2.73, confidence interval: 1.29 to 5.78). Conclusions: Most cT2-T3N0M0 patients have pN+ disease. Despite induction therapy, more than 50% have persistent nodal disease. Transthoracic esophagectomy is more likely to detect pN+ disease and more likely to meet criteria of adequate nodal dissection than is transhiatal esophagectomy. Therefore, the majority of patients with cT2-T3N0M0 should be considered for neoadjuvant protocols and should be treated by transthoracic resection whenever possible.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine