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Esophagitis is described as an inflammation of the esophagus and can result from multiple etiologies. Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), presenting as diffuse esophagitis in the absence of a mass or lesion, is rare. We present a case of a 61-year-old man who presented to the gastroenterology clinic for dysphagia and heartburn of 3 months duration. The patient had lost about 15 pounds unintentionally over 6 months. The patient underwent esophagogastroduodenoscopy, which revealed significant diffuse Grade 4 esophagitis without any overt bleeding. Random biopsies were taken with cold forceps from proximal, middle, and distal esophageal segments because of the striking endoscopic appearance. Histopathology revealed high-grade dysplasia and carcinoma in situ. The patient underwent endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) of the esophagus, which revealed a focal lesion. EUS-guided fine-needle aspiration showed squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus. ESCC usually presents as a mass or a gross lesion seen on endoscopy. However, it rarely presents as severe diffuse esophagitis seen on routine endoscopy. From our observation, it would be reasonable for physicians to bear this unusual endoscopic presentation in mind and perform multiple random biopsies if encountered with such a case to rule out the possibility of any underlying malignancy.


This article was originally published in Case Reports in Gastroenterology, available at

This article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC).



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