Medline: 9375612

Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 114(5): 817-823, 1997.

Minimally invasive surgical staging is superior to endoscopic ultrasound in detecting lymph node metastases in esophageal cancer.

Luketich JD, Schauer P, Landreneau R, et al.


Endoscopic ultrasonography is frequently used to locally stage esophageal cancer, but few studies exist to validate its accuracy for lymph node metastases. Our objective was to compare endoscopic ultrasonography with video-assisted thoracoscopic and laparoscopic staging in evaluating lymph node metastases in esophageal cancer.

Twenty-six patients with potentially resectable esophageal cancer were identified by conventional imaging. Endoscopic ultrasonography was performed followed by laparoscopic and thoracoscopic staging, and locoregional staging was compared.

In eight patients endoscopic ultrasonography indicated N0 disease, but laparoscopy and thoracoscopy documented N1 disease in six. In five of 26 (19%) obstruction prevented endoscopic ultrasonography; three had N1 by laparoscopy and thoracoscopy. Thirteen patients had N1 disease according to endoscopic ultrasonography, and 12 of 13 (92%) had N1 disease by laparoscopy and thoracoscopy. The sensitivity and specificity of endoscopic ultrasonography for nodal evaluation were 65% and 66%, respectively. Sensitivity decreased to 44% for lymph node metastases less than 1 cm. No instances of T4 disease were found by surgical staging when endoscopic ultrasonography indicated T3 disease. Endoscopic ultrasonography revealed no distant metastases in any patient, but in four of 26 (15%) laparoscopy identified liver metastases.

The accuracy of endoscopic ultrasonography in the diagnosis of lymph node metastases in esophageal cancer was 65% and only 44% for lymph node metastases less than 1 cm diameter. Laparoscopy and thoracoscopy improved the accuracy of staging lymph node metastases in esophageal cancer and had the advantage of evaluating the thoracic and abdominal cavities for metastases.

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