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World J Gastroenterol. 2003 Feb;9(2):219-24.

Preoperative TN staging of esophageal cancer: comparison of miniprobe ultrasonography, spiral CT and MRI.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Second Affiliated Hospital, Shantou University Medical College, Shantou 515041, Guangdong Province China.



To evaluate the value of miniprobe sonography (MPS), spiral CT and MR imaging (MRI) in the tumor and regional lymph node staging of esophageal cancer.


Eight-six patients (56 men and 30 women; age range of 39-73 years, mean 62 years) with esophageal carcinoma were staged preoperatively with imaging modalities. Of them, 81 (94 %) had squamous cell carcinoma, 4(5 %) adenocarcinoma, and 1(1 %) adenoacanthoma. Eleven patients (12 %) had malignancy of the upper one third, 41 (48 %) of the mid-esophagus and 34 (40 %) of the distal one third. Forty-one were examined by spiral CT in whom 13 were co-examined by MPS, and forty-five by MRI in whom 18 were also co-examined by MPS. These imaging results were compared with the findings of the histopathologic examination for resected specimens.


In staging the depth of tumor growth, MPS was significantly more accurate (84 %) than spiral CT and MRI (68 % and 60 %, respectively, P<0.05). The specificity and sensitivity were 82 % and 85 % for MPS; 60 % and 69 % for spiral CT; and 40 % and 63 % for MRI, respectively. In staging regional lymph nodes, spiral CT was more accurate (78 %) than MPS and MRI (71 % and 64 %, respectively), but the difference was not statistically significant. The specificity and sensitivity were 79 % and 77 % for spiral CT; 75 % and 68 % for MPS; and 68 % and 62 % for MRI, respectively.


MPS is superior to spiral CT or MRI for T staging, especially in early esophageal cancer. However, the three modalities have the similar accuracy in N staging. Spiral CT or MRI is helpful for the detection of far-distance metastasis in esophageal cancer.

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