Small cell carcinoma of the esophagus is relatively rare, has a poor prognosis, and yet has no standard therapy. We report resection of small cell carcinoma of the esophagus diagnosed in the early stage and whose course we followed up. We review the treatment and prognosis of small cell carcinoma of the esophagus by analyzing our case and cases in the literature. Our patient, a 70 years old woman, had superficial small cell carcinoma of the esophagus with no lymph node or distant metastasis. Eight months after curative resection, she remains alive and recurrence-free. Analysis of cases in the literature showed 5-year survival of 9% and 50% survival of 6 months. Survival in MO cases (n = 106) was longer than that in M1 cases (n = 50) (p = 0.004). Survival in N0M0 cases (n = 28) was similar that in NOM1 cases (n = 57) (p = 0.15). Survival in MO cases treated by combined surgery and radiotherapy/chemotherapy (n = 31) was longer than that in cases treated otherwise (n = 67) (p<0.0001). We concluded that the patients with small cell carcinoma of the esophagus treated with combined surgery and radiotherapy/chemotherapy could expect relatively long survival.
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