Early esophageal mucosal carcinoma (M1 and M2) can be treated by ablation, or by endoscopic resection such as endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) and endoscopic submucosal dissection. Endoscopic resection enables pathologic examination of resected specimens. We hereby report our experiences with early esophageal cancer and its endoscopically observed types, chromoendoscopy with Lugol's iodine and EMR results.
Between May 2003 and July 2007, 9 patients with early esophageal carcinoma underwent EMR. The diagnosis was made by conventional endoscopy (waiting for the relaxed phase during esophageal peristalsis) followed by chro-moendoscopy using 3% Lugol's iodine to stain suspected early lesions or in high-risks patients. Miniprobe endoscopic ultrasound examinations were performed in all cases except 1. EMRs were carried out with a cap-fitted endoscope (EMRC).
There were 6 male and 3 female patients, with a median age of 53 years (range, 44–83 years). Six of the 9 cases had a history of smoking, 5 had a history of drinking, and 4 had a history of betel nut chewing. The endoscopic pictures of the early cancers were type 0–IIa (1 case), type 0–IIb (2 cases), and type 0–IIc (6 cases). One patient had double 0–IIc lesions. Two 0–IIb cases were detected only by chromoendoscopy using Lugol's iodine staining. The median size of the lesions was 0.85 cm (range, 0.7–2.0 cm). The final pathology reports of the endoscopically resected specimens were well-differentiated squamous cell carcinoma with free vertical and lateral margins, and no vascular or lymphatic invasion. The depths of tumor invasion were mucosal layer M1 in 7 cases, M2 in 1 case, and submucosal layer SM1 in the remaining case. There were no perforation or bleeding complications. The mean follow-up period was 13.1 months (range, 4–46 months). A M2 early esophageal cancer measuring 2 cm in diameter recurred 6 months after piecemeal EMRC. No additional adjuvant therapy was given to the SM1 case owing to her old age and bedridden condition.
Early esophageal cancer can be diagnosed by meticulous examination of the esophageal mucosa with conventional endoscopy, facilitated by Lugol's iodine staining, and can be treated by EMR, which is safe. Recurrence can occur after piecemeal EMR.