, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 398-407
Date: 10 Nov 2012

Pattern of Postoperative Recurrence and Hepatic and/or Pulmonary Resection for Liver and/or Lung Metastases From Esophageal Carcinoma

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We assessed the benefit of hepatic and pulmonary resections in patients with liver and lung recurrences, respectively, after resection of esophageal carcinoma.


The study population consisted of 138 consecutive patients with recurrent esophageal carcinoma after esophagectomy conducted between 2003 and 2005. The pattern, timing of appearance, and the prognosis of these recurrences were investigated, paying particular attention to those undergoing hepatic and pulmonary resections.


In total, 55 and 92 patients developed locoregional and distant-organ metastases 13 and 6 months (median) after surgery, respectively, including 9 patients with both types of recurrence. The distant-organ metastases were found in the liver (n = 26), lung (n = 27), bone (n = 21), and other organs (n = 29). Patients with pulmonary recurrences had a better overall prognosis (median survival after recurrence detection 13 months) than those with hepatic metastases (5 months) or nonhepatic nonpulmonary metastases. (3 months) Hepatic and pulmonary resections were carried out in patients with oligonodular (n = ≤ 2) isolated liver and lung metastases (n = 5, respectively). Although the survivals of patients with lung metastases who were treated/not treated by pulmonary resection were different (median survival: 48 vs. 10 months, p < 0.01), the difference in the survivals between patients with hepatic metastases who were treated/not treated by hepatic resection reached only borderline statistical significance (13 vs. 5 months, p = 0.06).


Resection of pulmonary metastases yields a survival benefit in properly selected patients. The benefit of resection for hepatic metastases remains controversial.