The gold standard for staging the local extension (T stage) and lymph node (LN) status (N stage) of esophageal cancer is endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS). When biopsy of the peritumoral LNs is performed using EUS, there is a risk of specimen contamination secondary to piercing the primary tumor; this shortcoming can be circumvented with endobronchial ultrasonography (EBUS). Moreover, EBUS allows for biopsy of LN stations not accessible with EUS.Methods
The study consisted of a prospective clinical trial. Fifty-two consecutive patients with potentially resectable esophageal cancer referred for endoscopic staging were prospectively enrolled. Radial and convex EUS followed by convex EBUS were performed during a single staging procedure. The LNs not accessible by EUS were biopsied using EBUS. Results of the EBUS procedure were compared to those of EUS in terms of the addition of staging information, upstaging, and confirmation of stage.Results
The combined EBUS-EUS procedure was performed in 42 patients. Ten patients were excluded. In all, 54 LNs were biopsied under EUS guidance and 48 LNs were biopsied under EBUS guidance. The EUS results were positive for metastatic esophageal cancer in 29 LNs (54%), and EBUS was positive in 10 LNs (21%). The addition of EBUS to EUS in the staging of esophageal cancer led to nodal and patient upstaging in 5 patients (12%) and confirmed the EUS stage with additional negative or positive LN sampling in 29 patients (69%). Positive EBUS that led to upstaging (5 patients) changed the treatment plan from potentially resectable to palliative. There was no morbidity related to EBUS.Conclusions
A combined EBUS-EUS staging procedure improves precision in staging, leads to upstaging, and can change the treatment plan in patients with esophageal cancer.