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Dis Esophagus. 2001;14(3-4):191-6.

Lymph node metastasis along the recurrent nerve chain is an indication for cervical lymph node dissection in thoracic esophageal cancer.

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  • 1Department of Surgery and Clinical Oncology, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, Suita, Osaka, Japan.


This study examined whether recurrent nerve chain node metastasis serves as an indicative factor for cervical lymph node dissection in thoracic esophageal cancer. The association of recurrent nerve chain lymph node metastasis and cervical node metastasis was analyzed for 91 patients with thoracic esophageal cancer who had undergone three-field lymph node dissection. In patients with upper thoracic esophageal cancer, the incidence of cervical lymph node metastasis was similar regardless of recurrent nerve chain node metastasis. On the other hand, in patients with middle or lower esophageal cancer, the incidence was significantly higher in recurrent nerve-positive (16/31, 51.6%) than in recurrent nerve-negative (5/43, 11.6%) patients. The prognosis of patients with recurrent nerve chain node metastasis was significantly better in the three-field dissection group than in the two-field dissection group, while in patients with no recurrent nerve chain node metastasis, survival was similar between the two groups. In conclusion, cervical lymphadenectomy can be omitted for recurrent nerve chain node-negative patients with middle and lower thoracic esophageal cancer.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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