Aims: Selection of patients for treatment of oesophagogastric cancers rests on accurate staging. Laparoscopy has become a safe and effective staging tool in upper gastrointestinal cancers because of its ability to detect small peritoneal and liver metastases missed by imaging techniques. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of staging laparoscopy (SL) in determining resectability of oesophagogastric cancers.
Methods: A review of 511 patients with oesophagogastric cancers referred to our centre during a 7-year period was performed. Four hundred and sixteen of them assessed to have resectable tumours after preoperative staging with CT and/or ultrasound underwent SL. The main outcome measure was the number of patients in whom laparoscopy changed treatment decision.
Results: Staging laparoscopy changed treatment decision in 84 cases (20.2%): locally advanced disease in 17, extensive lymph node disease in four and distant metastases (liver and peritoneum) in 63 cases. The sensitivity of laparoscopy for resectability was 88%. Eighty-one percent of patients who had combined CT scan and EUS were resectable at surgery compared with 65% of those who had CT scan alone (statistically significant with P-value<0.05). Of those patients deemed resectable by SL 8.1% were found to be unresectable at laparotomy, 16 with locally advanced disease and 11 with metastases.
Conclusion: Staging laparoscopy avoided unnecessary laparotomy in 20.2% of our patients and was most useful in adenocarcinoma, distal oesophageal, GOJ and gastric cancers and probably not necessary in lesions of the upper two-third of the oesophagus.