Endoscopic spray cryotherapy for esophageal cancer: safety and efficacy

Bruce D. Greenwald, John A. Dumot, Julian A. Abrams, Charles J. Lightdale, Donald S. David, Norman S. Nishioka, Patrick Yachimski, Mark H. Johnston, Nicholas J. Shaheen, Alvin M. Zfass, Jenny O. Smith, Kanwar Rupinder S. Gill, J. Steven Burdick, Damien Mallat, Herbert C. Wolfsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)686-693
Number of pages8
JournalGastrointestinal endoscopy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology


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