BACKGROUND: Radiofrequency ablation is safe and effective for complete eradication of nondysplastic Barrett esophagus (BE). The aim was to report the combined results of two published and two ongoing studies on radiofrequency ablation of BE with early neoplasia, as presented at SSAT presidential plenary session DDW 2008.
METHODS: Enrolled patients had BE < or = 12 cm with early neoplasia. Visible lesions were endoscopically resected. A balloon-based catheter was used for circumferential ablation and an endoscope-based catheter for focal ablation. Ablation was repeated every 2 months until the entire Barrett epithelium was endoscopically and histologically eradicated.
RESULTS: Forty-four patients were included (35 men, median age 68 years, median BE 7 cm). Thirty-one patients first underwent endoscopic resection [early cancer (n = 16), high-grade dysplasia (n = 12), low-grade dysplasia (n = 3)]. Worst histology remaining after resection was high-grade (n = 32), low-grade (n = 10), or no (n = 2) dysplasia. After ablation, complete histological eradication of all dysplasia and intestinal metaplasia was achieved in 43 patients (98%). Complications following ablation were mucosal laceration at resection site (n = 3) and transient dysphagia (n = 4). After 21 months of follow-up (interquartile range 10-27), no dysplasia had recurred.
CONCLUSIONS: Radiofrequency ablation, with or without prior endoscopic resection for visible abnormalities, is effective and safe in eradicating BE and associated neoplasia.