Patients with localized, early-stage esophageal cancer may undergo endoscopic esophageal resection, which uses a small camera attached to a flexible tube.
This instrument allows little to no distraction to the body while navigating to specific locations throughout the gastrointestinal tract. The surgeon then carries out an esophageal surgical resection to remove a small section of the patient’s esophagus and reconnect the remaining sections of the digestive tract.
Recently, there has been an increase of endoscopic resections over surgical resections; however, according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, an endoscopic resection may not be the best treatment for patients with localized, early-stage esophageal cancer. Senior author David J. Bentrem, MD, and researchers from Northwestern Medicine found that the more invasive, traditional surgical resection had an 87.6% 5-year survival rate, compared to the 76% 5-year survival rate for patients who underwent the less-invasive endoscopic resection.
Results indicated that esophageal resection increased for patients with T1a cancers from 19% in 2004 to 53% in 2010. For patients with T1b cancers, which are more mature and more likely to spread to at least one lymph node compared with T1a cancers, esophageal resection increased from 6.6% in 2004 to 20.9% in 2010.
A new study, published in the July, 2014, issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute by Northwestern Medicine- researchers, sheds new light on the risks associated with the growing popularity of endoscopic resection in the treatment of localized, early-stage esophageal cancer. Researchers found that the more traditional surgical resection, while more invasive, provided significantly better outcomes with an 87.6 percent five-year survival rate for patients than endoscopic resection, which had a 76 percent five-year survival rate.