Purpose: Neoplastic polyps are common in the colon, but not elsewhere in the gastrointestinal tract. They are rare at the gastroesophageal junction, especially associated with Barrett's dysplasia or adenocarcinoma. We identify a subset of early esophageal adenocarcinomas that present as symptomatic polyps with gastrointestinal bleeding, reflux, and even dysphagia. Because little is known about polypoid esophageal adenocarcinomas, we examine the clinical presentation, pathological features, and postoperative outcomes of these lesions. Methods: We defined esophageal polyps as macroscopic, well-demarcated projections above the mucosa that project the greater percentage of their mass into the lumen without central ulceration. From a consecutive series of 400 patients who underwent esophagectomies for adenocarcinoma (1988 to 2000), 14 (4%) had polyps on presentation. Clinical records, pathology reports, photographs, and original slides of these resected specimens were reviewed. Results: All patients with polyps had early staged esophageal adenocarcinomas. Lymph node involvement was found in only 4 patients, and no patients with distant metastases were found. All but 1 patient (13 of 14; 93%) were symptomatic at diagnosis. Most presented either with gastrointestinal bleeding or gastroesophageal reflux (11 of 14; 79%). Only 2 patients complained of mild dysphagia, and mean weight loss of the series was minimal at 1.3 ± 4.0 kg (range, 0 to 15 kg). Barrett's was present in 10 patients (71%), and in 80% of these cases, highgrade dysplasia was found. The polyps were small 3.4 ± 1.1 cm, and most contained poorly differentiated adenocarcinomas. No postoperative mortalities occurred, and follow-up was complete at 100%. Actuarial 2-year survival was 88%, with a mean survival of 61.3 months. Recurrent disease was identified in 4 patients. Conclusions: Polypoid adenocarcinomas of the distal esophagus are a subset of esophageal cancer that produce clear symptoms at an early tumor stage, which allows prompt detection and favorable prognosis. Their pathological features and demographics suggest an origin via the Barrett's esophagus-dysplasia-carcinoma sequence.
- Adenocarcinoma of the esophagus
- Polypoid esophageal cancer
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