Background: The aim of this study is to investigate the utility of total mediastinal lymphadenectomy (ML) in superficial esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Methods: The medical records of 129 patients who underwent esophagectomy and lymph node dissection for pathologically confirmed pT1 ESCC between July 2006 and December 2014 were retrospectively reviewed. Limited ML, such as traditional 2-field or transhiatal esophagectomy, was performed in 42 patients (group 1), and total ML, including the bilateral recurrent laryngeal nerve nodes, was performed in 87 patients (group 2). Results: R0 resection was achieved in all patients, and the number of dissected nodes was 28.0 ± 11.4 and 44.8 ± 16.1 in groups 1 and 2 (p < 0.001), respectively. The complication profile was similar in the two groups, but there were two operative mortalities in group 2. During a median follow-up of 32.4 months, loco-regional failure was found in 14.3% of group 1 and 3.5% of group 2 (p = 0.001). There was a significant difference in the 3-year overall survival (95.1% in group 2 vs. 83.3% in group 1, p = 0.043), and the 3-year disease-free survival rates (92.3% in group 2 vs. 73.7% in group 1, p = 0.001). On multivariate analysis, the extent of ML (HR, 5.200; 95% CI, 1.532 ~ 17.645; p = 0.008) and pT1b lesion classification (HR, 4.747; 95% CI, 1.024 ~ 21.997; p = 0.047) was a factor predictive of disease-free survival. Conclusions: Total ML might be beneficial, especially in cases of pT1b ESCC, because it could lead to a lower incidence of recurrence and longer survival times.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes