Background: Referral for endosonographic evaluation of subepithelial lesions seen in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is fairly common. Although rarely studied separately in details, esophageal lesions have some unique differences from other GI sites and might deserve some special considerations regarding follow-up and management.
Materials and methods: All cases referred for endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) evaluation of subepithelial esophageal lesions at Bezmialem University Hospital, a tertiary center in Istanbul, Turkey were retrospectively reviewed. Data were collected for patient and lesion characteristics as well as for pathology results and follow-up if available. Lesions were subcategorized according to their size, location, and final diagnosis.
Results: A total of 164 EUS examinations were identified. In 22.5% of cases, the lesion could not be identified by EUS. Of the remaining cases, 57.6% had a lesion larger than 1 cm in size. Extramural compression was the diagnosis in 12% and leiomyoma in around 60%. Thirteen patients had follow-up examinations with only two showing an increase in size after 12 months. Sixty-five EUS-guided fine needle aspirations (EUS-guided FNAs) were performed, with around 50% having nondiagnostic samples and 94% of the remaining samples confirming the presumptive diagnosis.
Conclusions: The majority of subepithelial lesions in the esophagus are benign with extremely low malignancy potential. EUS examinations performed for lesions smaller than 2 cm as well as FNAs taken from lesions smaller than 3 cm might have minimal impact on their ultimate management and outcome. More than one FNA pass should be attempted in order to improve the yield.