Cervical esophageal cancer
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Background: Forty-nine cases of circumferential pharyngolaryngectomy with total esophagectomy (PLTE) done between 1982 and 1996 were studied retrospectively. These procedures were performed for advanced squamous cell tumors of the superior esophageal sphincter (n=23), for hypopharyngeal tumors with synchronous esophageal carcinoma (n=15), and for hypopharyngeal tumors extensively invading the cervical esophagus (n=11). Methods: Ninety-six percent of the patients had T3–4 lesions, and it was impossible to use a free jejunal graft reconstruction. Patients underwent primary surgery in 70% of the cases, and salvage surgery (after failure of chemoradiotherapy) in 30%. In most patients, esophagectomy was performed without thoractomy (n=45). Resection was curative (R0) in 70% of the cases, in spite of lymph node invasion in 94%. Reconstruction of the digestive tract was achieved with the stomach in 33 patients (67%) or with the colon in 16 patients (33%). Results: Before 1989, postoperative mortality was high, was correlated with the high frequency of palliative surgery, and resulted in unsatisfactory survival results (overall 5-year survival rate of 7%). After 1989, as a result of better selection of patients and appropriate training of our team, postoperative mortality decreased from 33% to 10%, R1–2 resections decreased from 39% to 26%, and a 3-year overall survival rate of 28% was obtained for the last 25 patients, all of whom were able to eat without difficulty. These results are superior to the survival rates and functional results obtained with radiochemotherapy alone for such advanced tumors, even though the voice is preserved with radiochemotherapy alone. Conclusions: PLTE for advanced pharyngeal or cervical esophageal tumors is the best treatment currently available, but it is indicated only in very selected cases: when it is technically impossible to perform reconstruction with a free jejunal graft after circumferential pharyngolaryngectomy; as primary surgery, rather than as salvage surgery following chemoradiotherapy; after careful preoperative morphologic and endoscopic assessment of the extent of the tumor; and in patients able to tolerate a thoracotomy for an esophagectomy with lymphadenectomy. Selection according to these guidelines should improve results.
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