Node-Negative Esophageal Cancer With Short-Interval Isolated Metastasis to the Gallbladder: A Case Report

Semin Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2017;29(1):115-117. doi: 10.1053/j.semtcvs.2017.01.003. Epub 2017 Jan 10.


A 55 year old male smoker presented with clinical T3N0 esophageal adenocarcinoma of the GE junction. He completed neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy with carboplatin/paclitaxel and 5040cGy of radiation. He had limited clinical response on restaging but no evidence of metastatic disease and completed a minimally invasive three field esophagectomy. This was complicated by a chyle leak requiring thoracic duct embolization from which he recovered well. Surgical pathology showed no apparent nodal disease or metastases but a poorly differentiated primary tumor with signet-cell features. Approximately 3 months after his surgery, he developed right upper quadrant abdominal pain and elevated liver function tests and was taken for laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Gallbladder pathology demonstrated poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma with extensive lymphovascular invasion with immunohistochemistry analysis and comparison with the original surgical specimen confirming metastatic adenocarcinoma of esophageal origin. Literature review suggests that signet cell features and limited response to neoadjuvant therapy point to a more aggressive biology in esophageal cancer and increase the risk of metastatic disease, even in the setting of node negativity.

Keywords: esophageal cancer; gallbladder; metastasis; node-negative cancer.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Adenocarcinoma / secondary*
  • Adenocarcinoma / therapy
  • Biopsy
  • Carcinoma, Signet Ring Cell / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Signet Ring Cell / secondary*
  • Carcinoma, Signet Ring Cell / therapy
  • Chemoradiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Disease Progression
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / therapy
  • Esophagectomy
  • Gallbladder Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography

Supplementary concepts

  • Adenocarcinoma Of Esophagus