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Esophageal Cancer Prevention (PDQ®): Prevention - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Summary of Evidence


Based on solid evidence, harms of radiofrequency ablation include esophageal stricture and requirement for dilatation, and upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage, but at low rates. It is possible that overdiagnosis and overtreatment of Barrett esophagus, particularly without severe dysplasia, could lead to a substantial number of harms.

  • Study Design: Evidence obtained from a randomized controlled trial.
  • Internal Validity: Good.
  • Consistency: Single study.
  • Magnitude of Effects on Health Outcomes: The low rates of esophageal stricture and requirement for dilatation and upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage may be an understatement of the risks if this practice is widely adopted by less experienced physicians.
  • External Validity: Patients representative of a subset of people with dysplasia, particularly severe dysplasia; physicians may not be representative of practicing physicians since this is a new technology and requires specialized knowledge.


  1. Siemiatycki J, Krewski D, Franco E, et al.: Associations between cigarette smoking and each of 21 types of cancer: a multi-site case-control study. Int J Epidemiol 24 (3): 504-14, 1995.
  2. Oesophagus. In: World Cancer Research Fund., American Institute for Cancer Research.: Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective. Washington, DC: The Institute, 1997, pp 118-129.
  3. Chainani-Wu N: Diet and oral, pharyngeal, and esophageal cancer. Nutr Cancer 44 (2): 104-26, 2002.
  4. Boeing H, Dietrich T, Hoffmann K, et al.: Intake of fruits and vegetables and risk of cancer of the upper aero-digestive tract: the prospective EPIC-study. Cancer Causes Control 17 (7): 957-69, 2006.
  5. Corley DA, Kerlikowske K, Verma R, et al.: Protective association of aspirin/NSAIDs and esophageal cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Gastroenterology 124 (1): 47-56, 2003.
  6. Ye W, Held M, Lagergren J, et al.: Helicobacter pylori infection and gastric atrophy: risk of adenocarcinoma and squamous-cell carcinoma of the esophagus and adenocarcinoma of the gastric cardia. J Natl Cancer Inst 96 (5): 388-96, 2004.
  7. Lagergren J, Bergström R, Lindgren A, et al.: Symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux as a risk factor for esophageal adenocarcinoma. N Engl J Med 340 (11): 825-31, 1999.
  8. Fitzgerald RC: Molecular basis of Barrett's oesophagus and oesophageal adenocarcinoma. Gut 55 (12): 1810-20, 2006.
  9. Spechler SJ, Goyal RK: The columnar-lined esophagus, intestinal metaplasia, and Norman Barrett. Gastroenterology 110 (2): 614-21, 1996.
  10. Shaheen NJ, Sharma P, Overholt BF, et al.: Radiofrequency ablation in Barrett's esophagus with dysplasia. N Engl J Med 360 (22): 2277-88, 2009.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: September 04, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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