Esophageal small cell carcinoma (E-SmCC) and basaloid squamous cell carcinomas (BSCCs) are both highly aggressive malignancies, but their detailed differences in clinical behaviors have remained virtually unknown. In addition, treatment strategies of the patients with E-SmCC have not been established. 29 cases of E-SmCC and 39 with BSCC were examined in this study to clarify the clinical features and outcome of the patients with E-SmCC and to compare the findings with those of BSCC. E-SmCCs presented a more advanced status than BSCC (TNM Stage: P=.002). Esophagectomy was performed in 15 small cell carcinoma patients and 14 were treated with non-surgical/systemic therapy. The clinical outcome of the small cell carcinoma cases was significantly worse than those with BSCC (P=.001), but results of a stage-stratified analysis revealed that the Stage I small cell carcinoma patients presented favorable prognosis (3-year survival rate 100%, n=4). In contrast, among those with Stage II-IV, clinical outcome tended to be better in the systemic therapy group (3-year survival rate 49%, n=13) than the surgically treated group (3-year survival rate 0%, n=12). E-SmCC was a more aggressive neoplasm than BSCC. However, early detection could possibly improve the clinical outcome of patients with E-SmCC. Systemic therapy could also benefit the patients with advanced disease (Stage II-IV).
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