Background: This report presents clinical results of photodynamic therapy in patients with Barrett's esophagus and dysplasia or superficial esophageal cancer.
Methods: One hundred patients including 13 with superficial cancers were treated. Light (630 nm) was endoscopically delivered to the esophageal mucosa by a diffuser or a windowed esophageal centering balloon. Nd:YAG laser was required to ablate small residual areas of Barrett's mucosa during-long-term follow-up. Patients were maintained on omeprazole and were followed for 4 to 84 months (mean 19 months).
Results: Conversion of approximately 75% to 80% of treated Barrett's mucosa to normal squamous epithelium was found in all patients; complete elimination of Barrett's mucosa was noted in 43 patients. Dysplasia was eliminated in 78 patients. Dysplasia developed during follow-up in 11 of 48 patients in untreated Barrett's mucosa requiring additional therapy. Ten of the 13 malignancies were ablated. Esophageal strictures occurred in 34%. Use of longer centering balloons reduced the incidence of strictures.
Conclusion: Photodynamic therapy alone or with Nd:YAG laser thermal ablation combined with long-term acid inhibition provides an effective endoscopic therapy to (1) eliminate Barrett's mucosal dysplasia and superficial esophageal cancer and (2) reduce the extent of and, in some cases, eliminate Barrett's mucosa.