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J Am Coll Surg. 2004 Feb;198(2):205-11.

Recurrence pattern of squamous cell carcinoma of the thoracic esophagus after extended radical esophagectomy with three-field lymphadenectomy.

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The Division of Digestive and General Surgery, Niigata Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Asahimachi-dori 1-757, Niigata 951-8122, Japan.



Extended radical esophagectomy with three-field lymphadenectomy for patients with thoracic esophageal cancer has been shown to be effective. But even if this operation is performed, some patients still experience relapse of the disease. The purpose of this study was to clarify the pattern and timing of recurrence after extended radical esophagectomy.


Recurrence of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma was examined in 171 of 174 patients who underwent extended radical esophagectomy with three-field lymphadenectomy. Recurrence patterns were classified as locoregional (at the site of the primary tumor, the anastomotic site, or the lymph nodes), hematogenous, and other (pleura or site of gastrostomy). Factors associated with recurrence were identified using univariate and multivariate statistical methods for survival analysis.


The overall 5-year survival rate was 55.6%. Recurrence was recognized in 74 patients (43.3%). The median disease-free interval until recurrence was 11 months. Thirty patients (17.5%) developed a locoregional recurrence, and 24 (14.0%) developed a hematogenous recurrence. Five patients (2.9%) developed both recurrences simultaneously and were classified as hematogenous recurrences. Of 30 patients with cervical lymph node metastasis, recurrent disease was recognized in 19 patients (63.3%). In multivariate analysis of 160 patients, the depth of invasion and pM-lym (cervical or celiac lymph node metastasis) were significant factors for locoregional recurrence; the depth of invasion and number of lymph node metastases at operation were significant factors for hematogenous recurrence. Survival time for patients with hematogenous recurrence (median 16 months) was significantly shorter than that of patients with locoregional recurrence (median 25.5 months).


Locoregional recurrence is associated mainly with the extent of the local tumor and lymph node metastasis; hematogenous recurrence is not only associated with tumor stage but also with the tumor's oncologic behavior.

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