Over the past 5 years, new developments in the palliative treatment of incurable cancer of the oesophagus and gastro-oesophageal junction have been introduced with the aim of palliating dysphagia and improving the survival of patients. Stent placement is currently the most widely used treatment for palliation of dysphagia from oesophageal cancer. A stent offers rapid relief of dysphagia; however, current recurrent dysphagia rates vary between 30 and 40%. Recently introduced new stent designs are likely to reduce recurrent dysphagia by decreasing stent migration and non-tumoral tissue overgrowth. Intraluminal radiotherapy (brachytherapy) has been demonstrated to compare favourably with stent placement in long-term effectiveness and safety. A disadvantage of brachytherapy, however, is that one-fifth of patients need an additional treatment because of persistent tumour growth in the oesophagus. A solution may be to administer brachytherapy not in a single fraction but in multiple fractions. Finally, efforts have been undertaken to improve survival of patients by using chemotherapy. In the future, a multimodal approach-for example by combining stent placement with chemotherapy or radiotherapy-may improve the prognosis of patients without jeopardizing their quality of life.

brachytherapy, chemotherapy, intraluminal radiotherapy, oesophageal cancer, palliation, stent placement
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bpg.2006.07.005, hdl.handle.net/1765/66224
Best Practice and Research in Clinical Gastroenterology
Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Siersema, P.D. (2006). New developments in palliative therapy. Best Practice and Research in Clinical Gastroenterology, 20(5), 959–978. doi:10.1016/j.bpg.2006.07.005