Background: Dysphagia is the most common symptom in advanced esophageal cancer patients. Esophageal stent placement (SP) is a common palliation method but can be associated with significant morbidity. Limited data exist regarding the ability of spray cryotherapy (SC) prolong time to SP. Methods: A Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN) patient database was reviewed for cases with a SC indication of esophageal cancer palliation from 2007-2019. Procedures were performed using a liquid nitrogen SC system to apply 2-5 separate 20 second freeze and 60 second thaw cycles based on tumor characteristics. Primary outcome was time to subsequent palliative SP. Results: Of 56 patients (71.4% male, mean age 77.8 ± 10.2 years) who underwent a total of 199 SC sessions (mean 3.6 ± 2.7, range 1-12 per patient), 41 had adenocarcinoma and 15 squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Overall, 13 patients underwent subsequent SP within a mean duration of 15.7 ± 11.0 months over a mean follow-up duration of 25.6 ± 29.4 months. Treatment did produce stenosis in 16 patients, who required dilation within a mean period of 193.1 ± 294.1 days; notably, 10 patients had a history of preceding malignant strictures requiring dilation. Two patients experienced bleeding requiring transfusion, whereas 1 experienced perforation at the start of SC. Prior chemotherapy and/or radiation was not associated with developing an SC-related complication (risk ratio (RR) 1.5; 95% CI 0.6-3.7, P > 0.4). Conclusions: SC appears to be an effective and safe modality to palliate esophageal cancer in appropriate candidates. Majority of patients who undergo SC avoid the need for future SP. If patients eventually require SP, they are able to, on average, defer stenting for >1 year from SC initiation.
- esophageal adenocarcinoma
- esophageal squamous cell carcinoma
- esophageal stent
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