An accurate preoperative staging is important for selecting an appropriate therapy for esophageal cancer. In particular, diagnosis of lymph node metastases influences the indication for radical surgery. [18F] Fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) has been widely applied primarily as a useful tool for initial staging of esophageal cancer. However, false-negative cases sometimes make it difficult to select the appropriate treatment. We report two patients with esophageal cancer and PET-negative enlarged lymph node successfully diagnosed by laparoscopic sampling. This procedure did not only allow accurate histopathological staging, but also helped to select the optimal minimally invasive management. This technique can be recommended for patients with esophageal cancer in whom the diagnosis of enlarged lymph node cannot be confirmed by preoperative imaging.
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