Background: Endoscopic ultrasonography is considered to be the most accurate procedure in the preoperative staging of oesophageal carcinoma. Its accuracy was evaluated in the preoperative staging of adenocarcinoma of the distal oesophagus and oesophagogastric junction.
Methods: Thirty-two consecutive patients with adenocarcinoma of the distal oesophagus and oesophagogastric junction were preoperatively examined and staged by means of endoscopic ultrasonography. All patients underwent radical en bloc resection of the oesophagus and proximal stomach (or total gastrectomy) with standard lymphadenectomy including thoracic duct and mediastinal fat tissue. The postoperative histopathologic TNM stage was taken as reference.
Results: An endoscopic ultrasonography examination could be completed in 26 of the patients; the other 6 had obstructive tumour. In two patients infiltration of the tumour into the vital organs (in one patient aortic infiltration and in a second patient pericardial infiltration) was incorrectly suspected. The ability to predict T stage was 65.6%. T stage was overstaged in 31.2% and understaged in 3.1% of the cases. The ability to predict N stage was 71.9%. N stage was overstaged in 25.0% and understaged 3.1% of the cases.
Conclusions: In adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus and oesophagogastric junction endoscopic ultrasonography helps in predicting resectability, but the exact TN staging is not accurate. Since early detection of tumour and aggressive surgical intervention constitute the only curative treatment, caution must be exercised when judging a patient to be inoperable solely on the basis of endoscopic ultrasonography findings without proven distant metastases.