Small cell esophageal cancer is a rare type of cancer that tends to spread quickly. It usually has a poorer outlook than other types of esophageal cancer.
SCEC is a type of neuroendocrine cancer. It tends to have a poor outlook than more common types of esophageal cancer. Neuroendocrine cancers start in cells that release hormones in response to nerve signals.
Due to its rarity, doctors know relatively little about how to treat SCEC best. They often use some combination of:
Keep reading to learn more about this rare type of cancer, including risk factors, symptoms, and its outlook.
SCEC is a highly aggressive cancer that makes up
The name “small cell” comes from the microscopic appearance of the cells. Doctors can differentiate SCEC from other types of esophageal cancer by taking a sample of the cancer and examining it under a microscope.
The origin of SCEC is controversial. Scientists theorize it develops in cells found in the outer part of the esophagus, called the mucosa. It generally develops in the lower or mid-esophagus.
Other areas that small cell cancer can develop are the:
Symptoms of SCEC are often vague and similar to symptoms of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. The
Other common symptoms include:
The average time between the onset of symptoms and diagnosis has been reported as around 4 months.
The development of SCEC is complex. It likely involves a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Males are diagnosed about
Researchers are still investigating factors that increase your risk of developing SCEC. It’s thought that
A 2022 study suggests that as many as
Stage 1 or 2A treatment
Stage 2B treatment
According to a
- surgery by itself
- surgery followed by chemotherapy
- chemoradiation therapy, which is a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy
Other research suggests that nonsurgical treatment may be best.
Stage 3 and 4 treatment
Chemoradiation therapy is generally the
In a 2019 study, researchers found that the overall response rate of radiation therapy was
Clinical trials are underway to see whether
Esophageal cancer tends to have a poor outlook. Only about
SCEC tends to have a poorer outlook than other types of esophageal cancer because it is aggressive and lacks standardized treatment options. SCEC has spread to distant organs in 31–90% of cases at the time of diagnosis.
|Time period||Overall survival rate|
Cancer spreading to the lymph nodes and larger tumor size are some reasons linked to a poorer outlook.
SCEC is a rare but highly aggressive form of esophageal cancer. It tends to spread quickly to distant body parts and has a poorer outlook than other types of esophageal cancer.
Researchers are still investigating the best way to manage and treat SCEC. Little is known about the best way to treat it due to its rarity, but surgery, chemoradiation therapy, and immunotherapy are among the most common treatment options.