Clinical impact of conventional endosonography and endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration in the assessment of patients with Barrett's esophagus and high-grade dysplasia or intramucosal carcinoma who have been referred for endoscopic ablation therapy

Endoscopy. 2006 Feb;38(2):157-61. doi: 10.1055/s-2005-921075.


Background and study aims: Endoscopic mucosal resection and photodynamic therapy are exciting, minimally invasive curative techniques that represent an alternative to surgery in patients with Barrett's esophagus and high-grade dysplasia or intramucosal adenocarcinoma. However, there is lack of uniformity regarding which staging method should be used prior to therapy, and some investigators even question whether staging is required prior to ablation. We report our experience with a protocol of conventional endoscopic ultrasound staging prior to endoscopic therapy.

Patients and methods: A total of 25 consecutive patients with a diagnosis of high-grade dysplasia or intramucosal adenocarcinoma in Barrett's esophagus who had been referred to the University of Chicago for staging in preparation for endoscopic therapy between March 2002 and November 2004 were included in the study. All 25 patients underwent repeat diagnostic endoscopy and conventional endosonography with a radial echo endoscope. Any suspicious lymph nodes that were detected were sampled using endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration.

Results: Baseline pathology in the 25 patients (mean age 70, range 49-85) revealed high-grade dysplasia in 12 patients and intramucosal carcinoma in 13 patients. Five patients were found to have submucosal invasion on conventional endosonography. Seven patients had suspicious adenopathy, six regional (N1) and one metastatic to the celiac axis (M1a). Fine-needle aspiration confirmed malignancy in five of these seven patients. Based on these results, five patients (20%) were deemed to be unsuitable candidates for endoscopic therapy.

Conclusions: By detecting unsuspected malignant lymphadenopathy, conventional endosonography and endoscopic ultrasound with fine-needle aspiration dramatically changed the course of management in 20% of patients referred for endoscopic therapy of Barrett's esophagus with high-grade dysplasia or intramucosal carcinoma. Based on our results, we believe that conventional endosonography and endoscopic ultrasound with fine-needle aspiration when nodal disease is present should be performed routinely in all patients referred for endoscopic therapy in this setting.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Barrett Esophagus / diagnostic imaging
  • Barrett Esophagus / pathology*
  • Barrett Esophagus / surgery
  • Biopsy, Fine-Needle / methods
  • Catheter Ablation / methods*
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal*
  • Endosonography*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / diagnostic imaging
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Precancerous Conditions / diagnostic imaging
  • Precancerous Conditions / pathology*
  • Precancerous Conditions / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies