Locally recurrent esophageal carcinoma: When is re-resection indicated?

Paul H. Schipper, Stephen D. Cassivi, Claude Deschamps, David C. Rice, Francis C. Nichols, Mark S. Allen, Peter C. Pairolero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background. Limited locally recurrent esophageal carcinoma is rare, and little is known regarding effectiveness of re-resection. Methods. Medical records of 27 consecutive patients with locally recurrent esophageal carcinoma who underwent reoperation at our institution between February 1974 and January 2003 were analyzed. Results. The original and recurrent cancer cell types were identical in all patients. Median disease-free interval was 19.4 months (range, 2.5 to 170 months). Recurrence was at the anastomosis in 23 patients (85%), esophageal remnant in 3 (11%), and stomach in 1 (4%). Ten patients had completion gastrectomy and partial esophagectomy, and 9 had resection of the anastomosis. The remaining 8 patients were found intraoperatively to have unresectable disease and underwent biopsy only. Re-resection was complete in 15 of the 19 patients resected (79%). Four patients had microscopic cancer at the resection margins. Reconstruction was with colon in 10 patients and esophagogastrostomy in 9. There were 2 deaths (operative mortality, 7%). Complications occurred in 16 patients (59%). Arrhythmia and anastomotic leak were the most common complications and each occurred in 7 patients (26%). Factors favorably associated with survival were disease-free interval greater than 2 years (p ≤ 0.05) and complete re-resection (p ≤ 0.02). Two-, three-, and five-year survival for patients completely re-resected was 62%, 44%, and 35%, respectively. Survival for patients who had incomplete re-resections was 18% at 2 years and zero at 3 years. Conclusions. Re-resection of locally recurrent esophageal carcinoma is associated with considerable morbidity. However, long-term survival is possible in patients with a long disease-free interval or a complete re-resection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1001-1006
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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