Optimal Management of Dysphagia in Patients with Inoperable Esophageal Cancer: Current Perspectives

Sonmoon Mohapatra, Aadhithyaraman Santharaman, Krista Gomez, Rahul Pannala, Toufic Kachaamy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The majority of patients with esophageal cancer are diagnosed at an advanced, incurable stage. Palliation of symptoms, specifically dysphagia, is a crucial component to improve quality of life and optimize nutritional status. Despite multiple available treatment modalities, there is not one accepted or recommended to be the preferred treatment option. Palliative management is often decided by a multidisciplinary team considering factors including local availability, preference, patient life expectancy, and symptom severity. Systemic therapies such as chemotherapy are the most commonly used palliative modalities. Oncologists are most familiar with radiation for dysphagia palliation, especially for advanced metastatic cancer patients with good performance status. One common approach used by endoscopist is self-expandable metal stents. This is preferred for patients with short-term survival and poor functional status as it provides rapid relief of dysphagia. Cryotherapy is a relatively new endoscopic ablative modality and appears to be a promising option for dysphagia palliation, but more data is needed for wider adoption. This review summarizes the current literature on endoscopic and non-endoscopic treatment options for malignant dysphagia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3281-3291
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Management and Research
StatePublished - 2022


  • cryotherapy
  • esophageal cancer
  • external beam radiation therapy
  • self-expandable metal stent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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