Prior chemoradiotherapy is associated with a higher life-threatening complication rate after palliative insertion of metal stents in patients with oesophageal cancer

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2006 Jun 15;23(12):1693-702. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2006.02946.x.


Background: Self-expanding metal stents are used routinely to palliate dysphagia due to oesophageal cancer.

Study aim: To compare the frequency of life-threatening complications after self-expanding metal stent insertion, depending on whether patients received prior chemoradiotherapy or no treatment.

Patients and methods: During 7 years, 116 consecutive patients were treated at a single centre in a palliative intent by insertion of self-expanding metal stent for dysphagia due to an oesophageal cancer. Patients were retrospectively separated into two groups: patients with chemoradiotherapy before self-expanding metal stent insertion (group 1, n = 56) and patients with no treatment before or after self-expanding metal stent insertion (group 2, n = 60). Life-threatening complications were compared and predictive risk factors of postprocedure complications were identified.

Results: Median dysphagia was significantly improved during the first month (grade 3 to grade 1 in the two groups). Early and late major complications occurred more frequently in group 1 (23.2% vs. 3.3%; P < 0.002 and 21.6% vs. 5.1%; P < 0.02 respectively). Prior chemoradiotherapy was the only independent predictive factor of postprocedure major complications, with an odds ratio of 5.59 (CI 95% 1.7-18.1).

Conclusions: Life-threatening complications after palliative self-expanding metal stent placement seem to occur more frequently in patients with prior chemoradiotherapy. Prevention of these severe complications should be considered before stenting.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Combined Modality Therapy / methods
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology
  • Deglutition Disorders / surgery*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Stents*


  • Antineoplastic Agents