Self-expanding plastic stent removed after radiochemotherapy for advanced esophageal cancer


Endoscopic evaluation after chemoradiotherapy (CR) is impossible with an esophageal stent in place. The main study objective was to evaluate self-expanding plastic stent (SEPS) removal post-CR. Secondary end-points were the improvement of dysphagia and patients’ quality of life. From October 2008 to March 2011, 20 dysphagic patients who suffered from advanced esophageal cancer were enrolled in a multicenter, prospective study. SEPS was inserted prior to CR and then removed endoscopically. SEPS efficiency (dysphagia score) and tolerance, as well as the patients’ quality of life (European Organization for the Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire validated for the esophagus), were monitored. Continuous variables were compared using a paired t-test analysis for matched data. A P-value of less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Twenty patients (15 men and 5 women), aged 61.5 years (±9.88) (range 43-82 years), with adenocarcinoma (n = 12) and squamous cell carcinoma (n = 8), were enrolled. SEPS were successfully inserted in all patients (100%). There was one perforation and three episodes of migration. All of these complications were medically treated. The mean dysphagia score at the time of stent placement was 2.79 (0.6). Mean dysphagia scores obtained on day 1 and day 30 post-SEPS placement were 0.7 (0.9) (P < 0.0001) and 0.45 (0.8) (P < 0.0001), respectively. Quality of Life Questionnaire validated for the esophagus score showed an improvement in dysphagia (P = 0.01) and quality of oral feeding (P = 0.003). All SEPS were removed endoscopically without complications. In two patients, the stent was left in place due to metastatic disease. SEPS are extractable after CR of esophageal cancer. Early stenting by SEPS prior to and during CR may reduce dysphagia and improve quality of oral alimentation.

Keywords: dysphagia; esophageal cancer; quality of life; self-expanding plastic stent.