Less-invasive option as effective as oesophagus removal in early oesophageal cancer

Use of a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure to remove superficial, early stage oesophageal cancer is as effective as surgery that takes out and rebuilds the esophagus, according to a study by researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida. The research examined national outcomes from endoscopic treatment compared to esophagectomy, surgical removal of the oesophagus.
It found that endoscopic therapy offered long-term survival rates similar to those for oesophagectomy, says lead author, Michael B. Wallace, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic in Florida.
‘Endoscopic resection in the oesophagus is similar to how we remove polyps in the colon, although it is much more technically complex. Oesophagectomy is a major surgical procedure that cuts out the entire oesophagus, and pulls the stomach into the neck to create a new food tube,’ Dr. Wallace says.
‘Our study on national outcomes, as well as our own experience with the procedure at Mayo Clinic in Florida, suggests that both offer the similar chances for cure and long-term survival,’ he says. ‘Patients now have the option to preserve their oesophagus when only early stage cancer is present.’
The research looked at national outcomes from the two procedures in patients with oesophageal adenocarcinoma, the most common type of oesophageal cancer in the United States. The research team examined data from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database.
They identified 1,619 patients with superficial, early stage oesophageal adenocarcinoma who had endoscopic therapy (19 percent) or surgery (81 percent) from 1998 through 2009. Many of these patients were treated for cancers that arose from Barrett’s oesophagus, a condition in which the cells in the lower part of the oesophagus morph into a pre-cancerous state.
The researchers collected survival data through the end of 2009, and found that endoscopy therapy increased progressively