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Gastrointest Endosc. 2018 Feb;87(2):574-581. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2017.07.013. Epub 2017 Jul 16.

Nitrous oxide cryotherapy for treatment of esophageal squamous cell neoplasia: initial multicenter international experience with a novel portable cryoballoon ablation system (with video).

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Gastroenterology, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Digestive and Liver Disease, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York, USA.
Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Amsterdam Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Department of Surgery, Alleghany Health Network, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.



Early esophageal squamous cell neoplasia (ESCN) can be successfully treated by EMR, endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD), or radiofrequency ablation. A new portable, battery-powered cryotherapy system using nitrous oxide (cryoballoon focal ablation system [CbFAS]) has been used for Barrett's esophagus. It consists of a small hand-held device containing liquid nitrous oxide, which converts to gas within a low-pressure-compliant through-the-scope balloon and freezes targeted mucosa in contact with the balloon. This study evaluated the feasibility of endoscopic eradication of early ESCN with the CbFAS.


Patients with early ESCN (defined as low-grade intraepithelial neoplasia [LGIN], high-grade intraepithelial neoplasia [HGIN], or early T1 squamous mucosal cancer) were treated with the CbFAS. After chromoendoscopy, all Lugol's unstained lesions (USLs) were targeted with 8, 10, or 12 seconds of ice per site, and treatment was repeated until biopsy samples demonstrated eradication of ESCN. Postprocedure adverse events were recorded.


Ten patients (4 men; median age, 69.5 years) with LGIN (n=2), HGIN (n=7), or esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC; n=1, after EMR) in 24 USLs were treated. The median maximum diameter of the largest USL was 1.5 cm (interquartile range, 1-2 cm), and median total length of all neoplastic USLs was 2 cm (range, 1-10 cm). Patients with focal disease received a median of 2 cryoablations, whereas 4 patients with large and/or multifocal circumferential neoplasia had 6 to 12 ablations per procedure. The median procedure time was 34 minutes (range, 18-57 minutes). Treatment was completed in all patients. No major adverse events occurred. Four patients developed mild self-limited chest pain requiring narcotic analgesics immediately after the procedure. Two patients who received circumferential ablation developed a stricture responding to dilation, with no recurrence. Complete endoscopic and pathologic response was achieved in all patients at 3 months. One year follow-up biopsy specimens in 7 patients showed no USL or ESCN. All patients were disease free at last visit, with a median follow-up time of 10.7 months (interquartile range, 4-14 months).


We report the first application of nitrous cryoballoon ablation for curative treatment of early primary or recurrent ESCN. Our initial experience suggests that efficacy is high and the safety profile is reasonable. Prospective trials are needed to optimize cryogen dosimetry and assess safety and efficacy.

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