The pattern of metastatic lymph node dissemination from adenocarcinoma of the esophagogastric junction

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Background.The incidence of adenocarcinoma of the esophagogastric junction is rapidly increasing, and the extent of lymphadenectomy for such tumors remains controversial. The aim of this study was to identify the pattern of dissemination by examination of all lymph nodes retrieved from resected tumors of the esophagogastric junction.Methods.The endoscopic and pathologic reports of patients who underwent RO resection for adenocarcinoma of the esophagogastric junction between January 1996 and November 1999 were examined. Patients with type 1 tumors (distal esophagus) underwent subtotal esophagectomy with 2-field lymphadenectomy. Patients with type 2 (gastric cardia) tumors underwent transhiatal D2 total gastro-esophagectomy. Lymph node groups were dissected from the main specimens and examined separately.Results.One hundred and four type 1 and 48 type 2 tumors were studied. Median nodal recovery was 23 lymph nodes (type 1, 22 lymph nodes; type 2, 23 lymph nodes). Seventy-eight percent of the type 1 tumors with nodal metastases had dissemination in both the abdomen and mediastinum. The common abdominal sites were the paracardiac and the left gastric stations. Within the mediastinum, paraesophageal, paraaortic and tracheobronchial metastases were more often encountered. Type 2 tumors had positive lymph nodes most frequently in the left and right paracardiac, lesser curve (N1 group), and left gastric (N2 group) territories. Nodal status correlated with increasing depth of tumor invasion (P = .002).Conclusions.The pattern of nodal dissemination for cardia tumors concurs with that described by other studies. The current definition of nodal fields in the abdomen and mediastinum for esophageal tumors relates to experience with squamous carcinomas. Our results demonstrate a different pattern of dissemination for junctional esophageal adenocarcinomas. The nodal stations to be resected in radical lymphadenectomies for such tumors should be redefined. (Surgery 2001;129:103-9.)

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