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Annals of Surgery:
doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e31821111b5
Original Articles

Long-term Outcome of 2920 Patients With Cancers of the Esophagus and Esophagogastric Junction: Evaluation of the New Union Internationale Contre le Cancer/American Joint Cancer Committee Staging System

Gertler, Ralf MD*; Stein, Hubert J. MD; Langer, Rupert MD; Nettelmann, Marc MD; Schuster, Tibor PhD§; Hoefler, Heinz MD; Siewert, Joerg-Ruediger MD; Feith, Marcus MD*

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Abstract

Objective: We analyzed the long-term outcome of patients operated for esophageal cancer and evaluated the new seventh edition of the tumor-node-metastasis classification for cancers of the esophagus.

Background: Retrospective analysis and new classification.

Methods: Data of a single-center cohort of 2920 patients operated for cancers of the esophagus according to the seventh edition are presented. Statistical methods to evaluate survival and the prognostic performance of the staging systems included Kaplan-Meier analyses and time-dependent receiver-operating-characteristic-analysis.

Results: Union Internationale Contre le Cancer stage, R-status, histologic tumor type and age were identified as independent prognostic factors for cancers of the esophagus. Grade and tumor site, additional parameters in the new American Joint Cancer Committee prognostic groupings, were not significantly correlated with survival. Esophageal adenocarcinoma showed a significantly better long-term prognosis after resection than squamous cell carcinoma (P < 0.0001). The new number-dependent N-classification proved superior to the former site-dependent classification with significantly decreasing prognosis with the increasing number of lymph node metastases (P < 0.001). The new subclassification of T1 tumors also revealed significant differences in prognosis between pT1a and pT1b patients (P < 0.001). However, the multiple new Union Internationale Contre le Cancer and American Joint Cancer Committee subgroupings did not prove distinctive for survival between stages IIA and IIB, between IIIA and IIIB, and between IIIC and IV.

Conclusion: The new seventh edition of the tumor-node-metastasis classification improved the predictive ability for cancers of the esophagus; however, stage groups could be condensed to a clinically relevant number. Differences in patient characteristics, pathogenesis, and especially survival clearly identify adenocarcinomas and squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus as 2 separate tumor entities requiring differentiated therapeutic concepts.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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