BACKGROUND: EUS is often used for locoregional staging of early esophageal neoplasia. However, its value compared with that of endoscopic examination and diagnostic endoscopic resection (ER) may be questioned because diagnostic ER allows histological assessment of submucosal invasion and other risk factors for lymph node metastasis, eg, poor differentiation/lymphovascular invasion.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate how often patients were excluded from endoscopic treatment of esophageal neoplasia based on EUS findings.
DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.
SETTING: Tertiary care institution.
PATIENTS: Patients with early esophageal neoplasia.
INTERVENTIONS: EUS, diagnostic ER.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: Number of patients excluded from endoscopic treatment based on EUS results.
RESULTS: A total of 131 patients were included (98 men, 33 women; age 66 ± 13 years). In 105 of 131 patients (80%), EUS findings were unremarkable. In 25 of 105 patients (24%), diagnostic ER showed submucosal invasion (n = 17), deep resection margins positive for cancer (n = 2, confirmed at surgery), or poor differentiation/lymphovascular invasion (n = 6). In 26 of 131 patients (20%), EUS findings raised the suspicion of submucosal invasion and/or lymph node metastasis. In the 14 of 26 patients (54%) with abnormal EUS findings, endoscopy results were unremarkable. Diagnostic ER showed submucosal invasion in 7 of 14 (50%) patients, whereas no lymph node metastasis risk factors were found in 7 of 14 patients (50%), who subsequently underwent curative endoscopic treatment. In 12 of 26 patients (46%) with abnormal EUS, endoscopy also raised doubts on whether curative endoscopic treatment could be achieved. After diagnostic ER, no risk factors for lymph node metastasis were found in 3 of 12 patients (25%).
LIMITATION: Retrospective study.
CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that EUS has virtually no clinical impact on the workup of early esophageal neoplasia and strengthens the role of diagnostic ER as a final diagnostic step.