Is an intrathoracic or cervical anastomosis the preferable location of the anastomosis after a transthoracic, minimally invasive esophagectomy, in terms of anastomotic leakage requiring reintervention?
In this randomized clinical trial of 245 patients, anastomotic leakage necessitating reintervention occurred in 15 of 122 patients (12.3%) with intrathoracic anastomosis and 39 of 123 patients (31.7%) with cervical anastomosis.
In this study, intrathoracic anastomosis resulted in better outcome for patients treated with transthoracic minimally invasive esophagectomy for midesophageal to distal esophageal or gastroesophageal junction cancer.
Transthoracic minimally invasive esophagectomy (MIE) is increasingly performed as part of curative multimodality treatment. There appears to be no robust evidence on the preferred location of the anastomosis after transthoracic MIE.
To compare an intrathoracic with a cervical anastomosis in a randomized clinical trial.
Design, Setting, and Participants
This open, multicenter randomized clinical superiority trial was performed at 9 Dutch high-volume hospitals. Patients with midesophageal to distal esophageal or gastroesophageal junction cancer planned for curative resection were included. Data collection occurred from April 2016 through February 2020.
Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to transthoracic MIE with intrathoracic or cervical anastomosis.
Main Outcomes and Measures
The primary end point was anastomotic leakage requiring endoscopic, radiologic, or surgical intervention. Secondary outcomes were overall anastomotic leak rate, other postoperative complications, length of stay, mortality, and quality of life.
Two hundred sixty-two patients were randomized, and 245 were eligible for analysis. Anastomotic leakage necessitating reintervention occurred in 15 of 122 patients with intrathoracic anastomosis (12.3%) and in 39 of 123 patients with cervical anastomosis (31.7%; risk difference, −19.4% [95% CI, −29.5% to −9.3%]). Overall anastomotic leak rate was 12.3% in the intrathoracic anastomosis group and 34.1% in the cervical anastomosis group (risk difference, −21.9% [95% CI, −32.1% to −11.6%]). Intensive care unit length of stay, mortality rates, and overall quality of life were comparable between groups, but intrathoracic anastomosis was associated with fewer severe complications (risk difference, −11.3% [−20.4% to −2.2%]), lower incidence of recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy (risk difference, −7.3% [95% CI, −12.1% to −2.5%]), and better quality of life in 3 subdomains (mean differences: dysphagia, −12.2 [95% CI, −19.6 to −4.7]; problems of choking when swallowing, −10.3 [95% CI, −16.4 to 4.2]; trouble with talking, −15.3 [95% CI, −22.9 to −7.7]).
Conclusions and Relevance
In this randomized clinical trial, intrathoracic anastomosis resulted in better outcome for patients treated with transthoracic MIE for midesophageal to distal esophageal or gastroesophageal junction cancer.
Trialregister.nl Identifier: NL4183 (NTR4333)
Identify all potential conflicts of interest that might be relevant to your comment.
Conflicts of interest comprise financial interests, activities, and relationships within the past 3 years including but not limited to employment, affiliation, grants or funding, consultancies, honoraria or payment, speaker's bureaus, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, royalties, donation of medical equipment, or patents planned, pending, or issued.
Err on the side of full disclosure.
If you have no conflicts of interest, check "No potential conflicts of interest" in the box below. The information will be posted with your response.
Not all submitted comments are published. Please see our commenting policy for details.
van Workum F, Verstegen MHP, Klarenbeek BR, et al. Intrathoracic vs Cervical Anastomosis After Totally or Hybrid Minimally Invasive Esophagectomy for Esophageal Cancer: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Surg. 2021;156(7):601–610. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2021.1555
Coronavirus Resource Center
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: