Background and study aims: Endoscopic therapy of high-grade dysplasia (HGD) and superficial adenocarcinoma associated with Barrett's esophagus (BE), using Nd:YAG laser, KTP laser, or photodynamic therapy (PDT), has been reported to be effective in a curative role. Argon plasma coagulation (APC) appears to be effective in the eradication of nondysplastic Barrett's mucosa, but no results are available in the management of early neoplasms complicating BE. We report our initial experience in the application of APC in this indication.
Patients and methods: Ten patients (mean age 74.2) with histologically proven HGD (n = 7) or in situ adenocarcinoma (n = 3) associated with BE (mean length 6 cm) and unfit for surgery were treated using APC and high-dose omeprazole (40 mg daily) until squamous re-epithelialization or complete eradication of the initially apparent lesions. Endoscopic follow-up was maintained at every 3 months.
Results: Complete eradication of HGD and in situ adenocarcinoma was achieved after a mean number of 3.3+/-1.5 APC sessions in 8/10 patients (80%). The eight patients with complete clearance of the neoplastic areas did not show any evidence of local recurrence during a median follow-up of 24 months (range 12-36 months). One patient with initial HGD had persistence of HGD 30 months after initial diagnosis, and one patient progressed to invasive adenocarcinoma after failure of APC and PDT.
Conclusions: APC is safe and effective in the management of HGD and in situ adenocarcinoma associated with BE, and might represent an interesting alternative in selected patients who are not candidates for surgery.