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Endoscopic Management of Early Esophageal Cancer

Barnes, Jessica A., BA*; Willingham, Field F., MD, MPH

Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology: September 2015 - Volume 49 - Issue 8 - p 638–646
doi: 10.1097/MCG.0000000000000353

The absolute incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma has increased 7-fold over the past 5 decades, and esophageal adenocarcinoma is the most rapidly increasing epithelial malignancy in the United States. The incidence of early esophageal cancer has also increased proportionately. In the past decade, radiofrequency ablation has become the standard first-line therapy for high-grade dysplasia when found in the precursor lesion to esophageal adenocarcinoma, Barrett’s esophagus. Success in the endoscopic management of high-grade dysplasia has furthered efforts to treat early esophageal cancers endoscopically. Although surgery remains the mainstay of treatment for more advanced tumors, national guidelines now recommend endoscopic mucosal resection followed by radiofrequency ablation for intramucosal carcinomas and T1a cancers. T1b cancers represent a more challenging group—very good results have been reported in highly selected subsets of patients with T1b tumors; however, many recommendations favor individualization or a surgical approach for this stage. This review examines the current data and recommendations regarding the endoscopic management of early esophageal adenocarcinomas.

*School of Medicine, Emory University

Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Division of Digestive Diseases, Emory University, Atlanta, GA

Supported in part by a development grant from the Department of Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine.

The authors declare that they have nothing to disclose.

Reprints: Field F. Willingham, MD, MPH, Emory University Hospital, 1364 Clifton Road, NE, Atlanta, GA 30322 (e-mail:

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.