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03-11-2016 | Esophageal cancer | Article

Role of endoscopy in early oesophageal cancer

Jayan Mannath, Krish Ragunath


Incidence of oesophageal adenocarcinoma has increased exponentially in the West over the past few decades. Following detection of advanced cancers, 5-year survival rates remain bleak, making identification of early neoplasia, which has a better outcome, important. Detection of subtle oesophageal lesions during endoscopy can be challenging, and advanced imaging techniques might improve their detection. High-definition endoscopy has become a standard in most endoscopy centres, and this technology probably provides better delineation of mucosal features than standard-definition endoscopy. Various image enhancement techniques are now available with the development of new electronics and software systems. Image enhancement with chromoendoscopy using dyes has been a cost-effective option for many years, yet these techniques have been replaced in some contexts by electronic chromoendoscopy, which can be used with the press of a button. However, Lugol's chromoendoscopy remains the gold standard to identify squamous dysplasia. Identification and characterization of subtle neoplastic lesions could help to target biopsies and perform endoscopic resection for better local staging and definitive therapy. In vivo histology with techniques such as confocal endomicroscopy could make endotherapy feasible within a shorter timescale than when relying on histology on tissue samples. Once early neoplasia is identified, treatments include endoscopic resection, endoscopic submucosal dissection or various ablative techniques. Endotherapy has the advantage of being a less invasive technique than oesophagectomy, and is associated with lower mortality and morbidity. Endoscopic ablation therapies have evolved over the past few years, with radiofrequency ablation showing the best results in terms of success rates and complications in Barrett dysplasia.

Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 2016; 13: 720–730. doi:10.1038/nrgastro.2016.148


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