BACKGROUND & AIMS: Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is safe and effective for eradicating intestinal metaplasia and neoplasia in patients with Barrett's esophagus. We sought to assess the safety and efficacy of RFA in conjunction with baseline endoscopic resection for high-grade intraepithelial neoplasia (HGIN) and early cancer.
METHODS: This multicenter, prospective cohort study included 24 patients (mean age, 65 years; median Barrett's esophagus, 8 cm), with Barrett's esophagus of < or =12 cm containing HGIN or early cancer, from 3 European tertiary-care medical centers. Visible lesions were endoscopically resected, followed by serial RFA. Focal escape endoscopic resection was used if Barrett tissue persisted despite RFA. Complete response, defined as all biopsies negative for intestinal metaplasia and neoplasia, was assessed during endoscopy with 4-quadrant biopsies taken every 1 cm of the original Barrett's segment 2 months after the patient was last treated.
RESULTS: Twenty-three patients underwent pre-RFA endoscopic resection for visible lesions; 16 patients had early cancer and 7 patients had HGIN. The worst residual histology results, pre-RFA (after any endoscopic resection) were: HGIN (10 patients), low-grade intraepithelial neoplasia (11 patients), and intestinal metaplasia (3 patients). Neoplasia and intestinal metaplasia were eradicated in 95% and 88% of patients, respectively; after escape endoscopic resection in 2 patients, rates improved to 100% and 96%, respectively. Complications after RFA included melena (n = 1) and dysphagia (n = 1). After additional follow-up (median, 22 months; interquartile range, 17.2-23.8 months) no neoplasia recurred.
CONCLUSIONS: This European multicenter study to show that early neoplasia in Barrett's esophagus can be effectively and safely treated with RFA, in combination with prior endoscopic resection of visible lesions.