The optimal surgical technique for the potentially curative treatment of patients with esophageal cancer is still under debate. The transhiatal esophagectomy (THE) with limited lymphadenectomy mainly focuses on a decrease of postoperative morbidity and mortality by preventing a formal thoracotomy. The transthoracic esophagectomy (TTE) with extended two-field lymphadenectomy attempts to improve the radicality of the resection and thus to increase locoregional tumor control, but is associated with increased postoperative morbidity. The recent introduction of different minimally invasive techniques probably decreases postoperative morbidity following TTE, with reduction of especially pulmonary complications, but high-quality evidence is still limited. It is widely agreed that extended lymphadenectomy as performed during TTE provides the benefit of more accurate staging, but its effect on improvement of survival is still debated. The literature on this topic is contradictory and the choice of surgical approach is primarily driven by personal opinions and institutional preferences. Moreover, the available evidence is mainly based on patients who underwent surgery alone without neoadjuvant therapy. Results of recent studies suggest that neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy abolishes any possibly positive effect of extended lymphadenectomy as performed during TTE on survival, but this effect should be confirmed in future research. This review gives an overview and reflects the authors' personal view on the role of TTE and THE in the treatment of potentially curative treatment of patients with locally advanced esophageal cancer in the era of minimally invasive esophagectomy and neoadjuvant treatment and outlines future research perspectives.

Esophageal cancer, Minimally invasive esophagectomy, Neoadjuvant therapy, Transhiatal esophagectomy, Transthoracic esophagectomy
dx.doi.org/10.1111/dote.12407, hdl.handle.net/1765/88726
Diseases of the Esophagus
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Noordman, B.J, Wijnhoven, B.P.L, & van Lanschot, J.J.B. (2015). Optimal surgical approach for esophageal cancer in the era of minimally invasive esophagectomy and neoadjuvant therapy. Diseases of the Esophagus. doi:10.1111/dote.12407