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Argon plasma coagulation for local recurrence of squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus after endoscopic mucosal resection: technique and outcome



It is difficult to undergo a second endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) for local cancer recurrence because ulcer scars caused by the previous EMR are frequently located near the tumor. The main objective of this study was to evaluate whether argon plasma coagulation (APC) is an effective and safe modality for treating early esophageal cancer recurrence untreatable by EMR.


We reviewed the experience of this clinic in the administration of EMR for the treatment of mucosal esophageal cancer in 249 patients with 276 lesions (142, m1; 98, m2; 36, m3) between December 1989 and March 2005. A local recurrence of the disease after the EMR was detected in 24 cases (9.6%). Seventeen patients were treated with APC. An argon gas flow of 2 l/min was used at a power setting of 60 W. The follow-up period of the 17 patients ranged from 13 to 87 months (median, 68 months).


The depth of tumor invasion, estimated by endoscopy, was mucosal in all patients. Seventy-three sessions (mean, 4.3 sessions/person; range, 1–12 sessions) were performed. All lesions were easily irradiated. No serious complications such as bleeding, perforation, or stenosis occurred. Complete local control was achieved in 16 of the 17 patients, but the remaining patient required further surgery. Death occurred in 3 cases. Two patients died as a result of other disease, and 1 patient died of other carcinomas, but no patient died of esophageal carcinoma.


APC is a safe and effective method for the treatment of local recurrence of squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus after an EMR.

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Correspondence to Kenro Kawada.

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Kawada, K., Kawano, T., Nagai, K. et al. Argon plasma coagulation for local recurrence of squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus after endoscopic mucosal resection: technique and outcome. Esophagus 5, 27–32 (2008).

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