A retrospective study was performed of an 11 year period (1978-88) to analyse the survival of 112 patients (85 men and 27 women, mean age 63 years) with adenocarcinoma in a columnar lined (Barrett's) oesophagus in respect of surgical treatment, tumour staging, and histological grading. Presenting symptoms were dysphagia (60%) and pain (25%). Only six patients were previously known to have a columnar lined oesophagus. Eighty five patients (76%) underwent partial resection of the oesophagus and cardia. Postoperative mortality was 6%. After resection (n = 85), the 5 year survival was 24%. Survival was significantly better for patients without regional lymph node metastases (stage 0, I, IIA (n = 61): 5 year survival 30%) and even better if the tumour was restricted to the submucosa (stage 0, I (n = 12): 5 year survival 63%). Survival was not influenced by the histological grade of the tumour. Staging based on infiltration of the oesophageal wall and lymph node spread is valuable in determining the prognosis for patients with adenocarcinoma in Barrett's oesophagus.
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