Objective: The authors review the results and outcomes of esophagectomy (prophylactic esophagectomy) for patients with Barrett's esophagus and high-grade epithelial dysplasia (HGD).
Summary background data: The role of prophylactic esophagectomy for Barrett's esophagus with HGD is controversial, with some authors recommending surgery and others favoring endoscopic surveillance until biopsy diagnosis of carcinoma is made.
Methods: Between 1982 and 1994, 30 consecutive patients with HGD underwent esophagectomy and had the pre- and postoperative pathology reviewed at our institution. The medical records were reviewed to determine patient characteristics, preoperative endoscopic data, surgical approach, operative morbidity and mortality, length of hospitalization, and treatment outcome. Patients were divided into two groups based on whether invasive adenocarcinoma was found in the resection specimen (group 1) or not (group 2).
Results: The duration of reflux symptoms was 22 +/- 14 years for group 1 and 9 +/- 11 years for group 2 (p = 0.05). There was one operative death (3.3%) and six complications (20%). In 13 patients (43%, group 1), invasive adenocarcinoma was found in the resected esophagus. The American Joint Committee on Cancer stage for these patients was stage I (8 patients), stage II (2 patients), and stage III (3 patients). One stage I patient died of adenocarcinoma (72 months) in an incompletely excised HGD segment. Other stage I and II patients are alive without adenocarcinoma with an 18-and 63-month mean follow-up, respectively. Outcome for stage III patients was one operative death, one noncancer death (6 months), and one patient with metastatic adenocarcinoma (26 months). For group 2 (57%), there were no adenocarcinoma deaths (40 months).
Conclusions: High-grade epithelial dysplasia is an indication for esophagectomy because of the prevalence of occult adenocarcinoma (43%). Esophagectomy can be performed safely, and survival in patients with completely resected Barrett's esophagus and early-stage adenocarcinoma is excellent.