Case Reports in Pathology

Case Reports in Pathology / 2012 / Article

Case Report | Open Access

Volume 2012 |Article ID 738205 |

C. Spitali, K. De Vogelaere, G. Delvaux, "Dysphagia after Colon Interposition Graft for Esophageal Carcinoma", Case Reports in Pathology, vol. 2012, Article ID 738205, 5 pages, 2012.

Dysphagia after Colon Interposition Graft for Esophageal Carcinoma

Academic Editor: Y. Nagashima
Received24 Sep 2012
Accepted10 Oct 2012
Published04 Nov 2012


Colon interposition is an established technique for esophageal reconstruction. We describe the case of primary adenocarcinoma arising in a colonic interposition graft that was performed after total esophagectomy for recurrence adenocarcinoma derived from the Barrett esophagus.

1. Introduction

In 1911, Kelling and Vuillet described the anatomic and surgical bases for the use of colon as replacement for the esophagus [1, 2].

Early postoperative complications are common, including necrosis of the transplant, leaks, fistulae, and strictures at the anastomoses. Late complications are rare. We describe an unusual late complication of a primary adenocarcinoma arising in the interposed colon after a right colonic bypass in a patient with adenocarcinoma derived from the Barrett esophagus.

2. Case Report

A 66-year-old male presented with history of progressive dysphagia for solid food.

Six years ago, he underwent a proximal gastrectomy and distal esophagectomy for adenocarcinoma derived from Barrett esophagus. Four years later, an esophagoscopy revealed a recurrence at the anastomotic site. A biopsy of the lesion showed a well-differentiated adenocarcinoma of the esophagus. Further investigation showed no evidence of metastatic disease, and a three-stage procedure with total esophagectomy was performed. The right-sided colon from the ileocaecal junction to the mid-transverse colon was used in a prevertebral position to reestablish continuity between the cervical esophagus and the remnant of the pyloric antrum. Histological examination revealed a pT2N0 lesion, and the patient recovered well without major complications. Two years after this intervention, the patient developed a progressive dysphagia for solid food. Endoscopy showed a circumferential mass arising from the colon (Figure 1), and biopsy confirmed a colonic type of adenocarcinoma. Barium swallow revealed the circumferential tumor at the ileocaecal junction (Figure 2). Further investigation with PET scan (Figure 3) demonstrated a tumor paravertebral right at the level of D7–D9 and no metastatic disease. Reintervention was proposed to the patient. Through a right thoracotomy an ileocaecal resection with end-to-end anastomosis was performed with preservation of the “cardial” marginal arcades artery to prevent necrosis of the proximal ileal segment.

Histological examination revealed a pT2 tumor of the colon and one normal lymphenode.

The patient recovered well with a good functional conduit and remained disease-free now at 24 months.

3. Discussion

The potential use of a pedicled segment of colon to bypass esophageal pathology was first described since the early sixthies. Colonic grafts have been used in the treatment of both benign (e.g., esophageal atresia and stricture) and malignant oesophageal pathology (e.g., cancer of esophagus and cardia).

Early complications of this procedure are common, including graft necrosis, anastomotic leak, fistulae, and stricture of the anastomosis [35]. Other unusual sequelae, including paracolic hiatal herniation and herniation of small intestine through the mesocolon have been reported [6].

Late complications are rare: progressive fibrostenosis of the graft, peptic colitis with ulceration of the colonic segment, gastrocolic reflux, and colopericardial and colobronchial fistula were described [4, 7]. The progressive development of diverticular disease in colon interposition has also been reported in previous literature by Nelson and Grayer [8].

Primary carcinoma arising in a colonic interposition is obviously rare. Review of literature showed only 11 cases (Table 1). These cases describe the use of colonic grafts in the treatment of both benign (e.g., esophageal atresia and stricture) and malignant oesophageal pathology (e.g., cancer of esophagus and cardia). Table 2 shows the pathology in the colonic graft at long term and the treatment.

ReferenceYear of publication
Age (years)GenderOriginal disease and treatmentTime since graft (years)Pathology

Goldsmith and Beattie [9]196848FemaleEsophageal poorly differentiated epidermoid carcinoma
RT 5947 r
Right colon for reconstruction
2Villous adenoma (middle part of graft)
Licata et al. [10]197851Male Benign esophageal stricture resulting from ingestion of lye
Right colon for reconstruction
11Adenocarcinoma (middle part of graft)
Haerr et al. [11]198772Male SCC at the junction of mid and lower third of esophagus
RT 46 Gray in 23 fractions
Right colon for reconstruction
9Adenocarcinoma (colonogastric junction)
Houghton et al. [12]198964Male Benign esophageal stricture
Right colon for reconstruction
20Villous adenoma (esophagocolonic junction)
Lee et al. [13] 199467Male Advanced adenocarcinoma of EG junction
Jejunal graft initially with graft necrosis
Right colon graft at subcutaneous rout 1 year later
14Adenocarcinoma (middel part of graft)
Theile et al. [14] 199175Female Postcricoid SCC
Pharyngolaryngectomy with right colon reconstruction
20Adenocarcinoma (esophagocolonic junction)
Altorjay et al. [15]199565Male Esophageal stricture distal third
Lower third resection of esophagus
Left colon for reconstruction
5Adenocarcinoma (middle part of graft)
Goyal et al. [16]200078Male Gastric cardiac carcinoma
Distal esophagectomy, partial gastrectomy with tube reconstruction
Gastric tube and oesophagus avascular necrosis complicated
Total gastrectomy, subtotal esophagectomy with right colon for reconstruction
7Adenocarcinoma (middle part of graft)
Liau et al. [17]200479MaleEsophageal cancer30Primary adenocarcinoma (middel third of graft)
Hsieh et al. [18]200557MaleAlkaline corrosive injury of the esophagus37Primary adenocarcinoma (anastomotic site)
Roos et al. [19]200779MaleEsophageal adenocarcinoma7Primary adenocarcinoma (colonogastric junction)
Spitali201260MaleEsophageal adenocarcinoma (malignant degeneration of Barrett's esophagus6Primary adenocarcinoma (anastomotic site)

ReferenceYear of publication

Goldsmith and Beattie [9]1968Villous adenoma (middle part of graft)Segmental resection distal colon bypass
and cologastrostomy
Licata et al. [10]1978Adenocarcinoma (middel part of graft)Not specified
Haerr et al. [11]1987Adenocarcinoma (colonogastric junction)Radio and chemotherapy because of tumor unresectable (invasion of sternum and mediastinum)
Houghton et al. [12]1989Villous adenoma (esophagocolonic junction)Resection colonic interposition and gastric interposition
Lee et al. [13] 1994Adenocarcinoma (middel part of graft)Resection lower part colonic graft and reanastomosis with jejunum
Theile et al. [14] 1991Adenocarcinom (esophagocolonic junction)Resection upper part colonic graft and free jejunal graft
Altorjay et al. [15]1995Adenocarcinoma (middle part of graft)Resection interposed colon and Roux-en-Y esophagojejunostomy
Goyal et al. [16]2000Adenocarcinoma (middle part of graft)
Liau et al. [17]2004Primary adenocarcinoma (middel third of graft)Chemotherapy
Hsieh et al. [18]2005Primary adenocarcinoma (anastomotic site)Resection whole colonic graft, cervical esophagostomy, and feeding gastrostomy
Roos et al. [19]2007Primary adenocarcinoma (colonogastric junction)Resection colon graft, cervical oesophagostomy, and feeding jejunostomy
Spitali2012Primary adenocarcinoma (anastomotic site)Ileocecal resection and end-to-end anastomosis

The late development of dysphagia in a patient with a colonic interposition graft should be examined seriously.

Contrast studies of colonic grafts can be difficult to interpret due to altered anatomy. Barium esophagography has the advantage of providing functional evaluation of the graft and integrity of the conduit anastomosis. However, radiographic evaluations and interpretations of the interposed colon may be difficult if there is unfamiliarity with the various surgical procedures and the postoperative appearances [10, 11].

Endoscopy with biopsy should therefore be considered.

Computed tomography plays a limited role in the examination of the interposed colon. It may provide valuable evaluation of the extent of the tumor invasion and for the staging preoperatively.

So far, there is no definable association between the primary carcinoma of the esophagus or stomach and the colon cancer [20, 21].

As more patients are followed over a long period, the later sequelae of colon interposition will become more evident. Whether the interposed segment of colon is more likely to develop carcinoma than a normally sited segment of colon remains to be seen.

In our case, a pre-existing lesion of the colon was indeed missed: during the examinations preoperatively an existing little spot was not remarked on PET scan (Figure 4). This was probably a tubulovillous adenoma of the colon. It is clear that examination of the colon before using it as a graft to exclude colonic disease is preferred.

On the other hand, to rule out the existence of a second primary cancer arising in the interposed colonic mucosa, an endoscopy of the colonic graft should be considered regularly as follow up in the postoperative period.

In summery, malignancy arising in the interposed colon graft is rare.

Total colonoscopy should be included in the preoperative setting when interposition of colonic segment needs to be used for replacement of the esophagus. This is to detect unexpected lesions.

Development of new symptoms in a patient with a colonic graft should always be taken seriously and investigated.


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Copyright © 2012 C. Spitali et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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