Purpose: To prospectively evaluate an algorithm for palliative treatment of unresectable esophagogastric junction tumors based on stricture length.
Materials and methods: Eighty-six patients with malignant esophagogastric obstructions were referred to the interventional radiology department for balloon dilation or stent placement due to dysphagia. Balloon dilation was performed in patients (n = 39) with a short segmental (< or =4 cm) stricture, whereas stent placement was performed in patients (n = 47) with a long segmental (>4 cm) stricture. In the balloon group, 16 patients with esophageal carcinoma underwent both chemotherapy and radiation therapy, whereas 23 patients with gastric carcinoma underwent only chemotherapy.
Results: Technical success was achieved in all procedures in all patients (100%). The overall clinical success rate of balloon dilation and stent placement for a malignant esophagogastric junction was 87% (75 of 86 patients). Clinical success was achieved in 29 of the 39 patients in the balloon group (74%) and 98% (46 of the 47 patients in the stent group (98%). The overall complication rate was 21% (18 of 86 patients). Seventeen complications, which consisted of reflux (n = 8), migration (n = 6), tumor overgrowth (n = 2), and tissue hyperplasia (n = 1), occurred after stent placement, whereas one complication (intramural rupture) occurred after balloon dilation. The median symptom-free and survival periods were 120 (95% confidence interval: 114, 263) and 147 (95% confidence interval: 98, 196) days, respectively.
Conclusions: The treatment strategies seem to be reasonable for palliative therapy in patients with malignant esophagogastric junction obstructions. However, further investigations are needed to minimize the drawbacks of the methods and to determine optimal treatments in patients with unresectable malignant esophagogastric junction obstructions.