Objectives: Intramucosal esophageal cancer treatment is evolving. Less-invasive therapies have emerged, necessitating review of safety, effectiveness, and determinants of long-term outcome after esophagectomy to clarify the role of this traditional, maximally invasive, and potentially harmful therapy.
Methods: From January 1983 to January 2011, 164 patients underwent esophagectomy alone for intramucosal adenocarcinoma. Cancers were subdivided by depth of invasion: lamina propria 50 (30%) and muscularis mucosa 114 (70%; inner 42 [26%], middle 16 [10%], and outer 56 [34%]). We assessed complications and esophagectomy-related mortality (safety) and cancer recurrence (effectiveness), and identified determinants of long-term outcomes.
Results: Barrett esophagus (P = .005), larger cancers (P < .001), worse histologic grade (P < .001), lymphovascular invasion (P < .001), and overstaging (P = .02) were associated with deeper cancers. One patient had regional lymph node metastases (0.6%). Seventy-five patients (46%) had complications. Seven of 9 deaths within 6 months were esophagectomy related, 6 from respiratory failure. Seven patients had recurrence, all within 4 years. Five-, 10-, and 15-year survivals were 82%, 69%, and 60%, respectively, which were similar to those of a matched general population. Determinants of late mortality were older age (P = .004), poorer lung function (P < .0001), longer cancer (P = .04), postoperative pneumonia (P = .06), cancer recurrence (P < .0001), and second cancers (P < .0001).
Conclusions: Survival after esophagectomy for intramucosal adenocarcinoma is excellent, determined more by patient than cancer characteristics. Patient selection and respiratory function are crucial to minimize harm. Considering the outcome of emerging therapies, esophagectomy should be reserved for patients with a long intramucosal adenocarcinoma or those in whom endoscopic therapies fail or are inappropriate.
Copyright © 2013 The American Association for Thoracic Surgery. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.