ACR Appropriateness Criteria® Staging and Follow-Up of Esophageal Cancer

Expert Panels on Thoracic and Gastrointestinal Imaging

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This document provides recommendations regarding the role of imaging in the staging and follow-up of esophageal cancer. For initial clinical staging, locoregional extent and nodal disease are typically assessed with esophagogastroduodenoscopy and esophageal ultrasound. FDG-PET/CT or CT of the chest and abdomen is usually appropriate for use in initial clinical staging as they provide additional information regarding distant nodal and metastatic disease. The detection of metastatic disease is critical in the initial evaluation of patients with esophageal cancer because it will direct patients to a treatment pathway centered on palliative radiation rather than surgery. For imaging during treatment, particularly neoadjuvant chemotherapy, FDG-PET/CT is usually appropriate, because some studies have found that it can provide information regarding primary lesion response, but more importantly it can be used to detect metastases that have developed since the induction of treatment. For patients who have completed treatment, FDG-PET/CT or CT of the chest and abdomen is usually appropriate for evaluating the presence and extent of metastases in patients with no suspected or known recurrence and in those with a suspected or known recurrence. The ACR Appropriateness Criteria are evidence-based guidelines for specific clinical conditions that are reviewed annually by a multidisciplinary expert panel. The guideline development and revision process support the systematic analysis of the medical literature from peer reviewed journals. Established methodology principles such as Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation or GRADE are adapted to evaluate the evidence. The RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method User Manual provides the methodology to determine the appropriateness of imaging and treatment procedures for specific clinical scenarios. In those instances where peer reviewed literature is lacking or equivocal, experts may be the primary evidentiary source available to formulate a recommendation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S462-S472
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • AUC
  • Appropriate Use Criteria
  • Appropriateness Criteria
  • CT
  • Esophageal cancer
  • MRI
  • Neoadjuvant chemotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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