Background: Few options exist for patients with localized esophageal cancer ineligible for conventional therapies. Endoscopic spray cryotherapy with low-pressure liquid nitrogen has demonstrated efficacy in this setting in early studies. Objective: To assess the safety and efficacy of cryotherapy in esophageal carcinoma. Design: Multicenter, retrospective cohort study. Setting: Ten academic and community medical centers between 2006 and 2009. Patients: Subjects with esophageal carcinoma in whom conventional therapy failed and those who refused or were ineligible for conventional therapy. Interventions: Cryotherapy with follow-up biopsies. Treatment was complete when tumor eradication was confirmed by biopsy or when treatment was halted because of tumor progression, patient preference, or comorbid condition. Main Outcome Measurements: Complete eradication of luminal cancer and adverse events. Results: Seventy-nine subjects (median age 76 years, 81% male, 94% with adenocarcinoma) were treated. Tumor stage included T1-60, T2-16, and T3/4-3. Mean tumor length was 4.0 cm (range 1-15 cm). Previous treatment including endoscopic resection, photodynamic therapy, esophagectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy failed in 53 subjects (67%). Forty-nine completed treatment. Complete response of intraluminal disease was seen in 31 of 49 subjects (61.2%), including 18 of 24 (75%) with mucosal cancer. Mean (standard deviation) length of follow-up after treatment was 10.6 (8.4) months overall and 11.5 (2.8) months for T1 disease. No serious adverse events were reported. Benign stricture developed in 10 (13%), with esophageal narrowing from previous endoscopic resection, radiotherapy, or photodynamic therapy noted in 9 of 10 subjects. Limitations: Retrospective study design, short follow-up. Conclusions: Spray cryotherapy is safe and well tolerated for esophageal cancer. Short-term results suggest that it is effective in those who could not receive conventional treatment, especially for those with mucosal cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging