Performance status is a predictive factor of dysphagia improvement after esophageal stenting in patients with malignant esophageal strictures and fistulas

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Malignant strictures and fistulas of the esophagus adversely affect quality of life (QOL) and prognosis, and stenting is considered a useful therapy for improving QOL. However, the predictive factors for improving dysphagia after esophageal stenting are unclear. This retrospective cohort study aimed to evaluate patients with esophageal malignant strictures and fistulas who underwent stenting and investigate the factors for dysphagia improvement after stenting.


Twenty-four patients with malignant esophageal strictures and fistulas were treated with a self-expandable metallic stent over a period of 5 years and 6 months. The main outcome was improvement in the dysphagia score. We divided the patients into dysphagia improved and non-improved groups after esophageal stenting. Sex, age, cause of stenting (primary or non-primary esophageal cancers), prior treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, type of esophageal stents (covered or non-covered), dysphagia score before stenting, and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status (PS) of the patients before stenting were evaluated. Student’s t test and Fisher’s exact test were used for continuous and categorical variables, respectively. Factors with a P value < 0.2, age, and sex were included and evaluated using a multiple logistic regression model. Statistical significance was defined as a P value < 0.05.


Stent placements succeeded in all cases without fatal complications. The dysphagia score improved in 15 patients. Twelve patients had primary lesions, and another 12 had non-primary lesions. The reasons for stenting were malignant strictures in 20 patients and esophageal fistulas in 4 patients. There were no significant differences in any factors, except PS before stenting (P = 0.003), between the improved and non-improved groups. Multiple logistic regression analysis results demonstrated that improvement in the dysphagia score was significantly associated with PS before stenting (adjusted odds ratio = 0.035, 95% CI 0.003–0.44, P = 0.009).


Esophageal stenting is safe and effective in patients with malignant esophageal strictures and fistulas. PS is an independent factor for dysphagia improvement after stenting.

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This study was not supported by any funding.

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Correspondence to Yasutoshi Shiratori.

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Dr. Yasutoshi Shiratori, Naoki Ishii, Takashi Ikeya, Koichi Takagi, Kenji Nakamura and Katsuyuki Fukuda have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Shiratori, Y., Ishii, N., Ikeya, T. et al. Performance status is a predictive factor of dysphagia improvement after esophageal stenting in patients with malignant esophageal strictures and fistulas. Surg Endosc 34, 564–568 (2020) doi:10.1007/s00464-019-06797-9

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  • Dysphagia
  • Improvement
  • Performance status