Background & Aims: Therapy of esophageal carcinoma is stage dependent. The role of EUS-guided fine-needle aspiration (EUS FNA) in this setting is unclear. The aims of this study were to compare the performance characteristics of CT, EUS, and EUS FNA for preoperative nodal staging of esophageal carcinoma and to measure the impact of each staging test on treatment decisions. Methods: From December 1999 to March 2001, all patients with esophageal carcinoma seen at the Mayo Clinic Rochester were prospectively evaluated with CT, EUS, and EUS FNA. The impact of tumor stage on final therapy was assessed. Results: A total of 125 patients with esophageal carcinoma were enrolled. EUS FNA was more sensitive (83% vs. 29%; P < 0.001) than CT and more accurate than CT (87% vs. 51%; P < 0.001) or EUS (87% vs. 74%; P = 0.012) for nodal staging. Direct surgical resection was contraindicated in 77% of patients evaluated due to advanced locoregional/metastatic disease. Tumor location, patient age, comorbidities, and tumor stage determined by CT, EUS, and EUS FNA were associated with treatment decisions (P < 0.05). EUS FNA resulting in a higher/worse stage than CT (41 patients) was associated with a greater rate of treatments that were not direct surgeries compared with cases in which the stage was the same or better. Conclusions: EUS FNA is more accurate for nodal staging and impacts on therapy of patients with esophageal carcinoma. EUS FNA should be included in the preoperative staging algorithm of these patients.
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