Background and Aims
A small but significant proportion of patients with Barrett’s esophagus (BE) have persistent dysplasia or intestinal metaplasia (IM) after treatment with radiofrequency ablation (RFA). Cryotherapy is a cold-based ablative modality that is increasingly being used in this setting. We aimed to better understand the efficacy of second-line cryotherapy in patients with BE who have persistent dysplasia or IM after RFA by conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis.
We performed a systematic literature search of Pubmed, EMBASE, and Web of Science through September 1, 2017. Articles were included for meta-analysis based on the following inclusion criteria: ≥5 patients with BE treated with RFA had persistent dysplasia or IM; they subsequently underwent ≥1 session of cryotherapy with follow-up endoscopy; the proportions of patients achieving complete eradication of dysplasia (CE-D) and/or IM (CE-IM) were reported. The main outcomes were pooled proportions of CE-D and CE-IM by using a random effects model.
Eleven studies making up 148 patients with BE treated with cryotherapy for persistent dysplasia or IM after RFA were included. The pooled proportion of CE-D was 76.0% (95% confidence interval [CI] 57.7-88.0), with substantial heterogeneity (I2 = 62%). The pooled proportion of CE-IM was 45.9% (95% CI, 32.0-60.5) with moderate heterogeneity (I2 = 57%). Multiple preplanned subgroup analyses did not sufficiently explain the heterogeneity. Adverse effects were reported in 6.7% of patients.
Cryotherapy successfully achieved CE-D in three fourths and CE-IM in half of patients with BE who did not respond to initial RFA. Considering its favorable safety profile, cryotherapy may be a viable second-line option for this therapeutically challenging cohort of patients with BE, but higher-quality studies validating this remain warranted.