Indian Journal of Nuclear Medicine
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 334-336

Understanding the association of axillary lymph node metastasis in esophageal cancers

Department of Surgical Oncology, Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Arvind Krishnamurthy
Department of Surgical Oncology, Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai - 600 036, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijnm.IJNM_84_18

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Lymph node metastasis is widely believed to be one of the most powerful prognostic factors influencing the outcomes of many solid cancers, including esophageal cancers. The left supraclavicular node, famously described as the Virchow's node, is occasionally involved in patients with advanced gastrointestinal cancers. Virchow node involvement is considered “nonregional” in all the gastrointestinal cancers, except in esophageal cancers. On the other hand, axillary lymph node metastases (ALNMs) are considered “nonregional” in all gastrointestinal cancers, including esophageal cancers. Exceptionally, some experts share a contrarian view and consider ALNM and supraclavicular lymph node metastasis to represent a contiguous regional dissemination of esophageal cancer. The clinical presentation of ALNM in the vast majority of the patients with esophageal cancers has been reported to be metachronous. Synchronous presentation is exceedingly rare, and our patient is possibly the second case to be reported in the English language literature. The increasing role of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography computed tomography scans in aiding the staging workup in patients with esophageal cancers and ultimately influencing the choice of management in such rare scenarios is further discussed.

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