Transthoracic Versus Transhiatal Esophagectomy for Esophageal Cancer: A Nationwide Propensity Score-Matched Cohort Analysis

the Dutch Upper GI Cancer Audit group

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Background: Chemoradiation followed by resection has been the standard therapy for resectable (cT1-4aN0-3M0) esophageal carcinoma in the Netherlands since 2010. The optimal surgical approach remains a matter of debate. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare the transhiatal and the transthoracic approach concerning morbidity, mortality and oncological quality. Methods: Data was acquired from the Dutch Upper GI Cancer Audit. Patients who underwent esophagectomy with curative intent and gastric tube reconstruction for mid/distal esophageal or esophagogastric junction carcinoma (cT1-4aN0-3M0) from 2011 to 2016 were included. Patients who underwent a transthoracic and transhiatal esophagectomy were compared after propensity score matching. Results: After propensity score matching, 1532 of 4143 patients were included for analysis. The transthoracic approach yielded more lymph nodes (transthoracic median 19, transhiatal median 14; p < 0.001). There was no difference in the number of positive lymph nodes, however, the median (y)pN-stage was higher in the transthoracic group (p = 0.044). The transthoracic group experienced more chyle leakage (9.7% vs. 2.7%, p < 0.001), more pulmonary complications (35.5% vs. 26.1%, p < 0.001), and more cardiac complications (15.4% vs. 10.3%, p = 0.003). The transthoracic group required a longer hospital stay (median 14 vs. 11 days, p < 0.001), ICU stay (median 3 vs. 1 day, p < 0.001), and had a higher 30-day/in-hospital mortality rate (4.0% vs. 1.7%, p = 0.009). Conclusions: In a propensity score-matched cohort, the transthoracic esophagectomy provided a more extensive lymph node dissection, which resulted in a higher lymph node yield, at the cost of increased morbidity and short-term mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-183
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Surgical Oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

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