Aim: To analyze the effect of intralesional steroid injections in addition to endoscopic dilation of benign refractory esophageal strictures.
Methods: A comprehensive search was performed in three databases from inception to 10 April 2017 to identify trials, comparing the efficacy of endoscopic dilation to dilation combined with intralesional steroid injections. Following the data extraction, meta-analytical calculations were performed on measures of outcome by the random-effects method of DerSimonian and Laird. Heterogeneity of the studies was tested by Cochrane's Q and I2 statistics. Risk of quality and bias was assessed by the Newcastle Ottawa Scale and JADAD assessment tools.
Results: Eleven articles were identified suitable for analyses, involving 343 patients, 235 cases and 229 controls in total. Four studies used crossover design with 121 subjects enrolled. The periodic dilation index (PDI) was comparable in 4 studies, where the pooled result showed a significant improvement of PDI in the steroid group (MD: -1.12 dilation/month, 95%CI: -1.99 to -0.25 P = 0.012; I2 = 74.4%). The total number of repeat dilations (TNRD) was comparable in 5 studies and showed a non-significant decrease (MD: -1.17, 95%CI: -0.24-0.05, P = 0.057; I2 = 0), while the dysphagia score (DS) was comparable in 5 studies and did not improve (SMD: 0.35, 95%CI: -0.38, 1.08, P = 0.351; I2 = 83.98%) after intralesional steroid injection.
Conclusion: Intralesional steroid injection increases the time between endoscopic dilations of benign refractory esophageal strictures. However, its potential role needs further research.
Keywords: Benign refractory esophageal stricture; Dilation; Intralesional steroid; Meta-analysis.