OBJECTIVE: Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is rather common among the Chinese, but the therapeutic outcome is dismal. Knowledge of the prognostic factors in cancerous patients may influence therapeutic strategy. However, systemic analyses of clinicopathological and biological factors for patients with ESCC are few, and the results are controversial. METHODS: Between 1985 and 1996, 117 patients undergoing en bloc esophagectomy and gastric substitution were enrolled. None had neoadjuvant treatment. Postoperative adjuvant therapy was provided for patients at and beyond stages IIa. Clinical responses were followed routinely. Flow cytometry was used to measure DNA ploidy and synthesis-phase fraction (SPF) of the resected esophageal tissues from all patients. Immunohistochemistry was also used to examine the expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), epidermoid growth factor receptor (EGFR), HER2/neu, and p53 in the pathological sections. Clinical correlation was evaluated by X2 with Fisher's exact test, and survival by log-rank test. RESULTS: The overall survival rates were 74% for 1 yr, 48% for 3 yr, and 38% for 5 yr. TNM tumor staging, the number of diseased lymph nodes (N ≤ 3 or N > 3), degree of cell differentiation, DNA ploidy, SPF, and lymphovascular invasion were more useful than biological markers, such as PCNA, EGFR, HER-2/neu, and p53, for the prognosis of ESCC. Multivariate analysis revealed significant correlation of tumor staging and number of diseased lymph nodes with patient survival after surgery. CONCLUSIONS: En bloc esophagectomy may provide a rather satisfactory survival rate for patients with early stage ESCC. However, for patients with distant lymph node metastasis and those with more than three lymph nodes involved, radical surgical resection, even combined with postoperative chemoradiotherapy, cannot improve survival. The prognostic value of biological markers, including PCNA, EGFR, HER-2/neu, and p53, however, is limited.
ASJC Scopus subject areas