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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 1999 December;45(4):233-44


language: English, Italian

Endoscopic and surgical palliation of esophageal cancer

Ferrante G., De Palma G., Elia S., Catanzano C., Cecere C., Griffo S., Sivero L., Costabile R.

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Background. Esophageal carcinoma is frequently diagnosed at an advanced stage. Therefore for most patients either surgical or endoscopic palliation with or without radiochemotherapy may be taken into consideration. This retrospective study analyzes immediate and long term results of perendoscopic treatment in patients with unresectable esophageal cancer. Moreover a comparative analysis has been made with a group of patients who underwent palliation surgery.
Methods. From 1982 to 1998 458 patients with esophageal cancer underwent palliation perendoscopic disobstructive treatment (427 pa-tients), palliation surgery (29 patients) and dis-obstruction followed by perendoscopic gastrostomy (2 patients). Among patients treated by perendoscopic procedures, 18 underwent dilation, 53 dilation and radiotherapy, 236 stent implantation, respectively of the plastic (102) and self-expandable metallic (134) type. 120 patients underwent NdYAG laser treatment.
Results. The results for patients who underwent perendoscopic procedures are referred to as regards the first 30 days after treatment and on the long run in terms of grade of dysphagia according to Visick's scale. For the group of patients undergoing simple dilation we had an improvement (from Visick III-IV to I-II) in 33% of cases and in 54.7% when radiotherapy was added. Far better results were achieved in all groups undergoing stent implantation, with or without brachytherapy, and NdYAG laser treatment with or without previous chemical necrolysis (range 90.3-100%). Most frequent complications were obstruction and stent displacement. Mean survival was better for patients undergoing laser recanalisation (7.2 months) while among stents the metallic type has given better results than plastic ones both for survival (6.2 vs 5.9 months) and mortality (2.4 vs 4.9%). Comparison with the group undergoing palliation surgery has shown that mean survival is the same for patients undergoing jejunostomy or gastrostomy while it is significantly better for patients undergoing palliation resection or by-pass surgery compared with those treated by stent implantation or laser recanalisation.
Conclusions. The palliation treatment of patients with esophageal and cardial carcinoma is still a complex problem as far as therapeutic strategy is concerned. The best palliation is surgery even though characterized by a greater morbidity and mortality compared with perendoscopic techniques that may represent, in selected cases, a suitable alternative.

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