Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is performed as a salvage treatment for patients with residual or recurrent esophageal cancer after chemoradiotherapy (CRT). Although PDT is considered less invasive than salvage surgery, it is unclear how deep its effects are and whether it causes damage to adjacent tissues. Herein, we report a case of esophageal cancer treated with PDT followed by esophagectomy. In this case, we evaluated the effect of PDT on adjacent tissues based on surgical and pathological examination.
A 58-year-old man with dysphagia was diagnosed with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (SqCC; T1N0M0, Stage I) in the upper thoracic esophagus. He underwent definitive CRT with two courses of 5-fluorouracil and cisplatin every 4 weeks with 60 Gy of radiation. Twelve months after CRT, endoscopic examination revealed local recurrence, and PDT using talaporfin sodium was performed. The tumor recurred again 6 months after PDT, and robot-assisted thoracoscopic esophagectomy was performed as a definitive treatment. Tissues around the left side of the esophagus and thoracic duct were tightly adherent with severe fibrosis and were successfully removed by extended resection. Histopathological examinations showed that the esophageal wall and peri-esophageal tissue were replaced by fibrous tissue and this extended even beyond the tumor.
The primary tumor was limited to the submucosal layer, and the target for irradiation had some longitudinal margins. Therefore, PDT can cause intense inflammation in tissues adjacent to the tumor.
It is necessary to consider the location when performing salvage esophagectomy after PDT.