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01.12.2004 | Original article | Ausgabe 12/2004

Surgical Endoscopy 12/2004

Laparoscopic esophagectomy in the palliative treatment of advanced esophageal cancer after radiochemotherapy

Surgical Endoscopy > Ausgabe 12/2004
A. Del Genio, G. Rossetti, V. Napolitano, V. Maffettone, A. Renzi, L. Brusciano, G. Russo, G. Del Genio



Esophageal cancer is associated with a poor long-term prognosis. Only a 10% 5-year survival rate is reported. This article aims to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of laparoscopic esophagectomy for the palliative treatment of advanced esophageal cancer (T3-T4 Nx-N1) after neoadjuvant therapy.


From March 1998 to July 2002, 35 patients (mean age, 64.6 years; range, 35–72 years) affected by advanced cancer of the middle lower third of the esophagus came to the authors’ observation. All received neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy. Of the 35 patients, 22 (62.9%) showed a positive response to treatment (≥50% reduction of maximal cross-sectional area of the tumor), and surgical intervention was performed 4 weeks after the end of the therapy. The operations were accomplished through the laparoscopic approach and left lateral cervicotomy.


The mean operative time was 160 min (range, 120–260 min). One patient (4.5%) experienced a cervical anastomotic leak. Three patients (13.6%) died in the postoperative period: one of myocardial infarction and two of acute respiratory failure. The mean postoperative hospital stay was 12.1 days (range, 9–23 days). After a mean follow-up period of 20.2 months (range, 10–40 months), 13 patients (68.4%) were alive.


The laparoscopic approach seems to be effective for the palliative treatment of advanced esophageal cancer. Further trials will be necessary to evaluate the advantages of this technique.

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