Background. The staging of esophageal cancer is imprecise. Thoracoscopic/laparoscopic (TS/LS) staging has been proposed as a more accurate lymph node (LN) staging method. We report the experience of an Intergroup NCI trial (CALGB 9380) evaluating the feasibility and accuracy of this staging modality. Patients and Methods. From February 1995 to September 1999, 134 patients were entered in the study. This study represents the analysis of final data on 113 patients. TS/LS was considered feasible if TS and 1 LN sampled at least 3 LN by LS; a confirmed positive node was found; or T4 or M1 disease was documented. If this was accomplished in more than 70% of patients, TS/LS was believed to be feasible. Results. The LN stations most frequently sampled in the thorax (134 patients) were levels 2 (33%), 3 (38%), 4 (40%), 7 (76%), 8 (69%), 9 (55%), and 10 (43%) and in the abdomen levels 17 (70%) and 20 (55%). The frequency of positive LN by level were as follows: 2 (10%), 3 (8%), 4 (10%), 7 (10%), 8 (25%), 9 (10%), 10 (10%), 17 (34%), and 20 (27%). Noninvasive tests (computed tomographic scan, magnetic resonance imaging, esophageal ultrasound scan) each incorrectly identified TN staging as noted by missed positive or false-negative LN or metastatic disease found at TS/LS staging in 50%, 40%, and 30% of patients, respectively. Median operating time was 210 minutes (range, 40 to 865 minutes). Median postoperative hospital stay was 3 days (range, 1 to 35 days). There were no deaths or major complications. Seventy-three percent of patients met the definition for feasibility. In 30 patients TS was not feasible. Positive LN disease was found in 43 patients; 32 were deemed NO. Ten patients had T4/M1 disease. Of the 32 potentially resectable NO patients, 14 patients had preoperative induction therapy; 13 patients went directly to operation with NO confirmed in 9 patients, NX in 1 and N1 in 3. Three patients were unresectable, 1 patient died, and 1 was lost to follow-up. Conclusions. In summary, the feasibility of TS/LS was confirmed. It doubled the number of positive LNs identified by conventional, noninvasive staging. The overall accuracy remains to be defined by analysis of the LN negative group in follow-up. Although the positive predictive value was high, further study is warranted to confirm the role of TS/LS in the staging algorithm of esophageal cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine