Palliation of dysphagia is the cornerstone of palliative treatment in patients with incurable oesophageal cancer. Available palliative options for dysphagia are oesophageal stent placement and radiotherapy. In general, oesophageal stent placement is the preferred therapeutic option in patients with a relatively poor prognosis because of its rapid relief of dysphagia. Regardless of ongoing technical developments, recurrence of dysphagia and stent-related complications are still occurring. For patients with a relatively good prognosis, intra-luminal brachytherapy is advised because of its sustained palliation of dysphagia. Due to limited availability of intra-luminal brachytherapy in clinical practice, fractionated external beam radiation therapy is commonly applied as an alternative. Selection of the optimal palliative approach for patients remains however challenging as conclusive high-quality evidence is limited. Moreover, with the introduction of new palliative treatment options (e.g. palliative chemotherapeutic and radiotherapeutic options) and the concurrent change of patient characteristics, supporting evidence from large randomised studies is warranted.

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Best Practice and Research in Clinical Gastroenterology
Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology

van der Bogt, R. D., Vermeulen, B.D. (B. D.), Reijm, A.N. (A. N.), Siersema, P., & Spaander, M. (2018). Palliation of dysphagia. Best Practice and Research in Clinical Gastroenterology (Vol. 36–37, pp. 97–103). doi:10.1016/j.bpg.2018.11.010