Background and study aims: Endoscopic resection of esophageal squamous-cell neoplasia with curative intent is considered to be a safe and effective alternative treatment to radical surgery in cases where the neoplasia is intraepithelial or limited to the mucosal layer. These patients are at risk for recurrent malignancy in the preserved esophagus, however. We conducted a prospective study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of endoscopic resection and to analyze variables associated with recurrence in patients with mucosal or intraepithelial squamous-cell neoplasia.
Patients and methods: Between December 1997 and September 2005, 65 patients (mean age +/- standard deviation [SD] 62.9 +/- 9.5 years), 12 with high-grade intraepithelial neoplasia (HGIN) and 53 with mucosal squamous-cell cancer, were included in our study and were treated using endoscopic resection. Details of patient and tumor characteristics were documented prospectively. All patients were included in a staging protocol including high-resolution endoscopy with Lugol staining, endoscopic ultrasound, computed tomography, and abdominal ultrasound. Endoscopic resection was performed using a ligation technique. The data acquired were subjected to univariate and multivariate analysis.
Results: A total of 179 resections were performed (mean number of resections +/- SD per patient, 2.8 +/- 1.8): 11/12 patients with HGIN (91.7%), and 51/53 patients with mucosal cancer (96.2%) achieved a complete response during a mean follow-up period of 39.3 +/- 22.8 months; three patients were still under therapy at the end of the study period. Recurrence of malignancy after achieving a complete response was observed in 16 patients (26%), but these patients all achieved another complete response after further endoscopic treatment. Independent risk factors for recurrence was multifocal carcinoma (RR 4.1, P = 0.018). Tumor-related deaths occurred in two patients (3%), and eight patients died as a result of co-morbidity. Complications were seen in 15/65 patients (23%, all esophageal stenoses). The 7 year survival rate calculated for all groups was 77%.
Conclusions: According to the results of long-term follow-up in this study, endosocopic resection appears to be an effective and safe method of curative treatment in patients with HGIN and mucosal squamous-cell carcinomas of the esophagus. Multifocal carcinoma and T1m1 tumors seem to be highly associated with recurrence.