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Innovations (Phila). 2013 Jan-Feb;8(1):17-22. doi: 10.1097/IMI.0b013e31828db550.

Advanced esophageal cancer in patients who underwent radiofrequency ablation for barrett esophagus with high-grade dysplasia.

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Department of Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, USA.



We sought to evaluate clinicopathologic features of patients who underwent esophageal surgery after radiofrequency ablation (RFA) treatment using the HALO system for Barrett esophagus (BE) with high-grade dysplasia (HGD).


We evaluated patients from our hospital database who underwent esophagectomy from August 2006 to January 2012 after previously receiving RFA for BE. Information on demographics, time between RFA and surgery, indications for surgery, and final esophageal pathology was collected.


In our study, we selected 102 patients who underwent esophagectomy. Five patients had a history of RFA for BE with HGD. Three patients were referred because of persistent HGD despite RFA, and all three patients had HGD in the esophagectomy specimen. Two patients presented with a benign diagnosis (esophageal perforation and leiomyoma), and both of these patients had pathologic stage T3N2M0 adenocarcinoma of the esophagus in the resected specimen. One of these patients had normal mucosa overlying carcinoma in the muscularis propria and adventitia. The patients with stage T3N2M0 cancer did not have pre-RFA endoscopic ultrasound, first treatment of RFA with HALO, or surveillance endoscopic biopsy every 3 months.


Radiofrequency ablation for BE with HGD may mask underlying esophageal cancer. Patients who are counseled to undergo RFA for HGD should be aware that RFA could lead to delayed diagnosis and delayed treatment of invasive esophageal cancer without careful patient selection, appropriate RFA use, and close surveillance.

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