Saint Louis, Missouri 63110

  • Esophageal Adenocarcinoma


Esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) is one of the few cancers with a rising incidence in the United States, with an estimated 17,000 new cases diagnosed in 2012. Most patients with esophageal cancer present with tumors which are not amenable to surgery and are treated with chemotherapy and radiation. The most common and bothersome symptoms from esophageal cancer is dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). Chemotherapy and radiation are effective in shrinking tumors and allowing patients with EAC to swallow more easily; however it usually takes 1-2 months for swallowing to improve with this treatment. Another method of shrinking esophageal tumors and allowing for better swallowing is endoscopic spray cryotherapy (freezing the tumor from inside the esophagus with the aid of an endoscope); cryotherapy is a well established method for treating cancerous and pre-cancerous esophageal disease. This is a particularly attractive treatment option, as patients with esophageal cancer usually undergo endoscopy on several occasions before starting treatment in order to biopsy and evaluate the tumor. The goal of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of cryotherapy in treating EAC related dysphagia in patients who are getting ready to start chemotherapy and radiation. In order to do this the investigators are planning to invite patients who are already undergoing endoscopy for pre-chemotherapy evaluation of known EAC. Patients would undergo cryotherapy after the diagnostic portion of the endoscopy has been completed. After the cryotherapy patients will be contacted by phone in order to evaluate change in symptoms, 2 and 4 weeks after cryotherapy.

Study summary:

Endoscopic spray cryotherapy (EC) is a novel modality for destruction of tissue in the gastrointestinal tract. EC involves the endoscopic application of cryogen [liquid nitrogen (LN)], which destroys tissue by rapid freezing and slow thawing. Immediate effects from tissue freezing include failure of cellular metabolism, membrane damage and local ischemia. Delayed effects may include apoptosis of cancer cells and immune mediated tumor destruction. EC has been used for the treatment of mucosal EAC and palliation of malignant dysphagia since 2007 in multiple tertiary centers, including Washington University in St Louis, with positive results. EC is an attractive modality for the palliation of malignant dysphagia in EAC due to the fact that newly diagnosed patients undergo upper endoscopy (EGD) and endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) as part of initial staging; thus EC could be delivered at the time of the staging endoscopy, without burdening the patient with an additional procedure. However, prospective studies on the efficacy of EC in the short term palliation of malignant dysphagia in EAC have not been performed. Thus, the goal of this pilot study is to evaluate the effectiveness of EC in the short term palliation of malignant dysphagia in patients with unresectable EAC.


Inclusion Criteria: - Patients >18 years of age with malignant dysphagia due to locally advanced EAC (≥T3 and/or N1) who are undergoing upper endoscopic ultrasound or upper endoscopy for pre-treatment staging or symptom evaluation Exclusion Criteria: - Prior esophageal or gastro-esophageal junction surgery. - Prior diagnosis of oropharyngeal dysphagia. - Prior diagnosis of esophageal achalasia. - Esophageal strictures unrelated to EAC - Distant metastasis - Dysphagia only to solid or semi-solid foods - Need for esophageal dilation in order to pass the diagnostic upper endoscope distal to the tumor. - Coagulopathy (INR>2, platelets < 50,000) - Inability to provide informed consent. - Marfan's syndrome



Primary Contact:

Principal Investigator
Vladimir M Kushnir, MD
Washington University School of Medicine

Vladimir M Kushnir, MD
Phone: 314-362-3685

Backup Contact:


Location Contact:

Saint Louis, Missouri 63110
United States

Thomas G Hollander, RN
Phone: 314-747-1973

Site Status: Recruiting

Data Source:

Date Processed: August 03, 2021

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