Objective: It is still unclear whether prior radiation and/or chemotherapy (RTCT) increases the risk of complications after the placement of self-expanding metal stents in patients with inoperable oesophagogastric carcinoma. We evaluated the influence of prior RTCT on the outcome of stent placement in a large group of patients.
Methods: From October 1994 to December 2000, 200 patients underwent placement of self-expanding metal stents for malignant dysphagia, and were followed prospectively. Forty-nine of these patients had received prior RTCT (chemotherapy n = 35, radiation therapy n = 8, or both n = 6).
Results: At 4 weeks after stenting, the dysphagia score had improved similarly in patients with or without prior RTCT, from a median of 3 to 0 (P < 0.001). The occurrence of major complications (bleeding, perforation, fistula formation, fever and severe pain) was not different between patients with or without prior RTCT (29% vs 21%; relative risk (RR) = 1.15 (95% CI 0.54-2.46; P = 0.72)), as was the occurrence of recurrent dysphagia due to tumour overgrowth, stent migration, or impaction of a food bolus (35% vs 27%; RR = 1.49 (95% CI 0.71-3.13; P = 0.29)). Median survival of both patient groups after stent placement was similar (110 vs 93 days; RR = 0.90 (95% CI 0.60-1.34; P = 0.60) for prior RTCT versus no prior treatment). Only minor complications (mainly mild retrosternal pain) occurred more frequently in patients with prior RTCT (41% vs 15%; RR = 2.12 (95% CI 1.06-4.25; P = 0.035)).
Conclusions: Both the incidence of life-threatening complications and survival after placement of self-expanding metal stents for oesophagogastric carcinoma are not affected by prior RTCT, but retrosternal pain occurs more frequently in patients who had previously undergone RTCT.