Role of clinically determined depth of tumor invasion in the treatment of esophageal carcinoma

Thomas W. Rice*, Eugene H. Blackstone, David J. Adelstein, Gregory Zuccaro, John J. Vargo, John R. Goldblum, Sudish C. Murthy, Malcolm M. DeCamp, Lisa A. Rybicki, Joshua R. Sonett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Objective: We sought to evaluate the effectiveness of clinical staging of depth of tumor invasion (cT), the relationship of cT to survival, the benefits of downstaging cT, and the role of cT in treatment decisions. Methods: The accuracy of determining T by means of endoscopic ultrasonography and the relationship of cT to survival were assessed in 209 patients undergoing esophagectomy alone for esophageal carcinoma. The benefit of downstaging cT was assessed in 128 patients undergoing induction therapy and esophagectomy. The role of cT in treatment decisions was determined by integrating these results with the results of previous work. Results: Compared with pathologic T (pT), cT was 87% accurate, 82% sensitive, 91% specific, 89% positively predictive, and 86% negatively predictive of tumors confined to (≤T2) or invading beyond (>T2) the esophageal wall. In cN0, increasing cT was predictive of progressively poorer survival. For each category of pT N0, cT accurately predicted survival, except for pT3, which was underestimated (P < .0001). In cN0, downstaging by induction therapy was beneficial only if tumors invaded beyond the wall (≥cT3, P = .0003). In cN1, it was beneficial only when downstaging was synchronous in cT3/T4 (P < .001). Conclusions: cT should be the principal determinant of treatment in cN0. In cN0, if endoscopic ultrasonography identifies tumors of greater than cT2, multimodality therapy should be considered. However, only when cT3/T4 tumors are downstaged to pT2 or less will patients benefit, but their survival will not equal that of patients with tumors of cT2 or less having esophagectomy alone. If endoscopic ultrasonography identifies tumors of cT2 or less, esophagectomy alone should be used because induction therapy might adversely affect survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1091-1102
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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