Background: Neoadjuvant therapy is commonly administered to patients with localized disease who have T3-4 esophageal disease as staged by endoscopic ultrasound (EUS). Previously, we noted that patients who present with dysphagia have a higher EUS T stage. We hypothesized that the presence of dysphagia is predictive of EUS T3-4 disease and that staging EUS could be forgone for esophageal cancer patients with dysphagia.
Methods: We performed a prospective, intent-to-treat, single-cohort study in which patients with potentially resectable esophageal cancer completed a standardized four-tier dysphagia score survey. EUS was performed as part of our standard evaluation. To determine whether the presence of dysphagia predicted EUS T3-4 disease, the dysphagia score was compared with EUS T stage.
Results: The study enrolled 114 consecutive patients between August 2012 and February 2014: 77% (88 of 114) received neoadjuvant therapy, 18% (20 of 114) did not, and 5% (6 of 114) pursued treatment elsewhere. In total, 70% (80 of 114) underwent esophagectomy; of these, 54% (61 of 114) had dysphagia and 46% (53 of 114) did not. Dysphagia scores were 66% (40 of 61) grade 1, 25% (15 of 61) grade 2, and 10% (6 of 61) grade 3 to 4. Among patients with dysphagia, 89% (54 of 61) had T3-4 disease by EUS; among those without dysphagia, only 53% (28 of 53) had T3-4 disease by EUS (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: The presence of dysphagia in patients with esophageal cancer was highly predictive of T3-4 disease by EUS. On the basis of this finding, approximately 50% of patients currently undergoing staging EUS at our institution could potentially forgo EUS before neoadjuvant therapy. Patients without dysphagia, however, should still undergo EUS.
Copyright © 2016 The Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.