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Ann Thorac Surg. 2005 Apr;79(4):1110-5; discussion 1110-5.

Surgical treatment of esophageal high-grade dysplasia.

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  • 1Division of Thoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.



Barrett's esophagus, high-grade dysplasia (HGD), and invasive cancer are steps in the progression of esophageal adenocarcinoma. While surgery is recommended for resectable invasive adenocarcinoma, a number of treatment modalities are advocated for HGD. The purpose of this study is to determine the outcomes after surgery for HGD.


We identified cases of HGD based on endoscopic biopsy in a single institution's databases from 1980 through 2001. Records were reviewed for patient characteristics, treatments, staging, and outcomes.


In a 22-year period, 869 cases of esophageal adenocarcinoma and 1,614 cases of Barrett's esophagus were diagnosed. Of these, 115 had HGD without pretreatment evidence of invasion. Forty-nine patients with HGD underwent resection (mean age, 59 years) as initial treatment. Forty-seven had endoscopic treatment (mean age, 70 years) by photodynamic therapy or endoscopic mucosal resection. Seven of the endoscopically treated patients failed, with three undergoing surgery and four observation. Nineteen patients were initially observed, with six eventually having surgery. For the 49 initially treated surgically, one (2%) operative mortality occurred. Invasive adenocarcinoma was present in 18 (37%). The five-year survival was 83% for all resected HGD patients (91% for those without invasion, 68% with invasion). Three of the eight deaths in those with invasion were from recurrent adenocarcinoma.


Surgical resection of esophageal HGD can be performed with low mortality and allows long-term survival. A significant percentage with an initial diagnosis of HGD will have invasive disease at resection. Surgery is the optimal treatment for HGD unless contraindicated by severe comorbidities.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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