Recurrent Barrett's esophagus and adenocarcinoma after esophagectomy

BMC Gastroenterol. 2004 Aug 25:4:18. doi: 10.1186/1471-230X-4-18.


Background: Esophagectomy is considered the gold standard for the treatment of high-grade dysplasia in Barrett's esophagus (BE) and for noninvasive adenocarcinoma (ACA) of the distal esophagus. If all of the metaplastic epithelium is removed, the patient is considered "cured". Despite this, BE has been reported in patients who have previously undergone esophagectomy. It is often debated whether this is "new" BE or the result of an esophagectomy that did not include a sufficiently proximal margin. Our aim was to determine if BE recurred in esophagectomy patients where the entire segment of BE had been removed.

Methods: Records were searched for patients who had undergone esophagectomy for cure at our institution. Records were reviewed for surgical, endoscopic, and histopathologic findings. The patients in whom we have endoscopic follow-up are the subjects of this report.

Results: Since 1995, 45 patients have undergone esophagectomy for cure for Barrett's dysplasia or localized ACA. Thirty-six of these 45 patients underwent endoscopy after surgery including 8/45 patients (18%) with recurrent Barrett's metaplasia or neoplasia after curative resection.

Conclusion: Recurrent Barrett's esophagus or adenocarcinoma after esophagectomy was common in our patients who underwent at least one endoscopy after surgery. This appears to represent the development of metachronous disease after complete resection of esophageal disease. Half of these patients have required subsequent treatment thus far, either repeat surgery or photodynamic therapy. These results support the use of endoscopic surveillance in patients who have undergone "curative" esophagectomy for Barrett's dysplasia or localized cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / etiology*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Barrett Esophagus / etiology*
  • Barrett Esophagus / pathology*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms
  • Esophagectomy / adverse effects*
  • Esophagectomy / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / etiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Recurrence