Soft-Tissue Metastases From Esophageal Cancer

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Background: Metastatic carcinoma to skeletal muscle and/or subcutaneous fat is a rare event. Only 27 cases of esophageal cancer to soft tissue have been described in the English-language literature. Purpose: Our goal was to describe the prevalence and clinical characteristics of soft-tissue metastasis among patients with primary esophageal cancer at a single institution. Methods: We performed a retrospective review of all patients with primary esophageal cancer. Data points analyzed included histologic subtype, anatomic location, metastasis pattern, treatment, and survival. Kaplan-Meier curves were used to estimate survival time, and log-rank tests were used for comparisons. For all analyses, P < 0.05 was considered significant. Results: Of 1341 patients with primary esophageal cancer, 25 (1.9%) had metastases to soft tissue. Soft-tissue metastases were diagnosed at a median age of 64 years, a median 9.6 months after esophageal cancer diagnosis. Adenocarcinoma was the predominant histopathological type, and soft-tissue metastasis was most common in the lower extremity. Local intervention was used for 10 symptomatic patients with favorable prognoses. Chemotherapy was the only treatment modality in 18 patients. Median survival time after diagnosis of soft-tissue metastasis was 8.9 months and was longer in patients with metastasis in soft tissue only (24.6 months, P = 0.007) and in those who received local intervention (11.1 months vs those who did not, P = 0.020). Conclusion: We estimate the prevalence of soft-tissue metastasis to be 1.9% among patients with esophageal cancer. Local intervention may be beneficial for patients in otherwise good health with symptomatic soft-tissue lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1721-1728
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 15 2019


  • Metastatic esophageal cancer
  • Soft tissue metastases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Gastroenterology


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