J Korean Surg Soc.  1999 Jul;57(1):34-38.

Early Esophageal Cancer

  • 1Department of Surgery, Yonsei University College of Medicine.
  • 2Ilsan Hospital.


BACKGROUND: Early esophageal cancer has a good prognosis compared with advanced esophageal cancer, so early detection of the cancer is emphasized. Early esophageal cancer is considered as esophageal cancer located within the submucosal layer and without metastasis in the operative specimen. Despite this criterion, evidence has accumulated suggesting that submucosal tumors have a very different prognosis from intra-epithelial and intramucosal lesions. The purpose of this study is to define the characteristics of and the appropriate operative method for esophageal cancer.
Medical records of 19 patients who had received an esophagectomy and who had been diagnosed as having early esophageal cancer between 1981 and 1996 at this hospital were reviewed.
There was 17 cases of submucosal lesions and 2 cases of mucosal lesions. 74% of the patients had alcohol or smoking history. When endoscopic findings were classified according to the endoscopic classification of JSED, there were 5 cases of type 0-I, 4 cases of type 0-III, 4 cases of type 1, and others. Type 0-I and 0-III were common. The accuracy of the endoscopic ultrasonographic finding was 39% compared with the postoperative pathologic finding. The mean duration of follow-up was 21 months, and there were 2 recurrences during follow-up. One recurred 13 months after the operation and the other 23 months after the operation. Both of them were submucosal lesions and received a transhiatal esophagectomy.
Annual endoscopic examination with lugol staining may be needed for early detection of esophageal cancer. Submucosal lesions of early esophageal cancer should be managed with an esophagectomy and lymph node dissection. Also, expertness of the endoscopist is very important in deciding on an of operative method.


Early esophageal cancer
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