Close

Cervical Esophageal Cancer

Determining the Type of Cervical Esophageal Cancer

Only after a pathologist analyzes some cells or actual pieces of tissue from the lesion will your doctor be able to tell you if you have cancer. Ideally, your doctor and pathologist should specialize in head and neck cancers because some benign (non-cancerous) lesions can look like cancer on a small biopsy.

  • Squamous cell carcinoma: These are by far the most common cervical esophageal cancers. They arise from cells lining the upper part of the cervical esophagus.
    • Squamous cell cancers of the esophagus are typically given a grade by a pathologist after looking at the cells under a microscope. Grade means that the tumor falls on a scale from well differentiated (Grade I) to poorly differentiated (Grade IV). It is generally felt that the prognosis for a more well-differentiated cancer is more favorable.
  • Adenocarcinoma: This type of cancer is from the gland-type cells in the esophagus. Adenocarcinoma is very rare in the cervical esophagus. It is much more common in the lower third of the esophagus.

More rarely, other cancers can be found in the cervical esophagus as well. Some of them include:

  • Lymphoma: The throat is lined with lymphoid cells. This is why lymphoma might appear as a lump in the throat area.
  • Carcinoid: This is a very slow growing tumor that is very rarely found in the esophagus, particulary the cervical esophagus (the most common site for this type of tumor is the appendix). Carcinoid tumor is a neuroendocrine tumor, which means the tumor cells can actually secrete hormones into the blood stream. It is typically a benign tumor but can occasionally become cancerous. Some carcinoids (about 10%) can actually secrete hormones and lead to “carcinoid syndrome,” which is characterized by diarrhea, turning red, cramps that come and go, wheezing and other symptoms (sometimes made worse with having wine and cheese).

Other extremely rare cancers of the cervical esophagus include:

  • Sarcomas such as leiomyosarcoma, liposarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Malignant fibrous histiocytoma
  • Peripheral Neuroectodermal Tumor (PNET)
  • Cancer spread from another site
References

1 Krause CJ, Carey TE, Ott RW, Hurbis C, McClatchey KD, Regezi JA. Human squamous cell carcinoma. Establishment and characterization of new permanent cell lines. Arch Otolaryngol. Nov 1981;107(11):703-710.

2 Moore C. Smoking and cancer of the mouth, pharynx, and larynx. JAMA: the journal of the American Medical Association. Jan 25 1965;191(4):283-286.

3 Pelucchi C, Gallus S, Garavello W, Bosetti C, La Vecchia C. Cancer risk associated with alcohol and tobacco use: focus on upper aero-digestive tract and liver. Alcohol research & health: the journal of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. 2006;29(3):193-198.

4 Little MP. Cancer after exposure to radiation in the course of treatment for benign and malignant disease. The lancet oncology. Apr 2001;2(4):212-220.

5 Modlin IM, Shapiro MD, Kidd M. An analysis of rare carcinoid tumors: clarifying these clinical conundrums. World J Surg. 2005 Jan;29(1):92-101.

6 Vinik, A. I., Thompson, N., Eckhauser, F., & Moattari, A. R. (1989). Clinical features of carcinoid syndrome and the use of somatostatin analogue in its management. Acta Oncologica, 28(3), 389-402.

7 Mariette C, Balon J-M, Piessen G, Fabre S, Van Seuningen I, Triboulet J-P. Pattern of recurrence following complete resection of esophageal carcinoma and factors predictive of recurrent disease. Cancer. 2003;97:1616-1623.

8 Key C and Meisner ALW. Chapter 3: Cancer of the Esophagus, Stomach, and Small Intestine. Ries LAG, Young JL, Keel GE, Eisner MP, Lin YD, Horner M-J (editors). SEER Survival Monograph: Cancer Survival Among Adults: U.S. SEER Program, 1988-2001, Patient and Tumor Characteristics. National Cancer Institute, SEER Program, NIH Pub. No. 07-6215, Bethesda, MD, 2007.

9 Leggett CL, Lewis JT, Wu TT, et al. Clinical and histologic determinants of mortality for patients with Barrett’s esophagus-related T1 esophageal adenocarcinoma. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2015;13:658-664.

10 Leers JM, DeMeester SR, Oezcelik A, et al. The prevalence of lymph node metastases in patients with T1 esophageal adenocarcinoma a retrospective review of esophagectomy specimens. Ann Surg 2011;253:271-278.

11 Alvarez Herrero L, Pouw RE, van Vilsteren FG, et al. Risk of lymph node metastasis associated with deeper invasion by early adenocarcinoma of the esophagus and cardia: study based on endoscopic resection specimens. Endoscopy 2010;42:1030-1036.

12 Lee L, Ronellenfitsch U, Hofstetter WL, et al. Predicting lymph node metastases in early esophageal adenocarcinoma using a simple scoring system. J Am Coll Surg 2013;217:191-199.

13 Cen P, Hofstetter WL, Correa AM, et al. Lymphovascular invasion as a tool to further subclassify T1b esophageal adenocarcinoma. Cancer 2008;112:1020-1027.

14 Nentwich MF, von Loga K, Reeh M, et al. Depth of submucosal tumor infiltration and its relevance in lymphatic metastasis formation for T1b squamous cell and adenocarcinomas of the esophagus. J Gastrointest Surg 2014;18:242-249; discussion 249.

15 Newaishy GA, Read GA, Duncan W, Kerr GR. Results of radical radiotherapy of squamous cell carcinoma of the oesophagus. Clin Radiol 1982;33:347-352.

16 Okawa T, Kita M, Tanaka M, Ikeda M. Results of radiotherapy for inoperable locally advanced esophageal cancer. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1989;17:49-54.

17 Sun DR. Ten-year follow-up of esophageal cancer treated by radical radiation therapy: analysis of 869 patients. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1989;16:329-334.

18 Oppedijk V, van der Gaast A, van Lanschot JJ, et al. Patterns of recurrence after surgery alone versus preoperative chemoradiotherapy and surgery in CROSS trials. J Clin Oncol 2014;32:385-391.

19 Lou F, Sima CS, Adusumilli PS, et al. Esophageal cancer recurrence patterns and implications for surveillance. J Thorac Oncol 2013;8:1558-1562.

20 Sudo K, Taketa T, Correa AM, et al. Locoregional failure rate after preoperative chemoradiation of esophageal adenocarcinoma and the outcomes of salvage strategies. J Clin Oncol 2013;31:4306-4310.

21 Dorth JA, Pura JA, Palta M, et al. Patterns of recurrence after trimodality therapy for esophageal cancer. Cancer 2014;120:2099-2105.

22 Sudo K, Xiao L, Wadhwa R, et al. Importance of surveillance and success of salvage strategies after definitive chemoradiation in patients with esophageal cancer. J Clin Oncol 2014;32:3400-3405.

23 Taketa T, Sudo K, Correa AM, et al. Post-chemoradiation surgical pathology stage can customize the surveillance strategy in patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma. J Natl Compr Canc Netw 2014;12:1139-1144.

Important: Privacy Update

Your privacy and the protection of your personal information is important to the THANC (Thyroid, Head and Neck Cancer) Foundation and the Head & Neck Cancer Guide (HNCG). For this reason, we have updated our privacy policy to align with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

Please click below to see an updated privacy policy that describes how we collect and use your personal information and respect your privacy.

Privacy Policy