Possible tumour cell reimplantation during curative endoscopic therapy of superficial Barrett’s carcinoma.
Endoscopic resection has been established as curative therapy for superficial cancer arising from Barrett’s oesophagus (BE); recurrences are very rare. Based on a case series with unusual and massive early recurrences, we analyse the issue of tumour cell reimplantation.This hypothesis was developed on the basis of two out of seven patients treated by circumferential (n=6) or nearly circumferential (n=1) en bloc and R0 endoscopic resection of T1 neoplastic BE. Subsequently, a prospective histocytological analysis of endoscope channels and accessories was performed in 2 phases (cytohistological analysis; test for cell viability) in 22 different oesophageal carcinoma patients undergoing endoscopy. Finally, cultures from two oesophageal adenocarcinoma cell lines were incubated with different triamcinolone concentrations (0.625-10 mg/mL); cell growth was determined on a Multiwell plate reader.Cancer regrowth in the two suspicious cases (male, 78/71 years) occurred 7 and 1 months, respectively, after curative tumour resection. Subsequent surgery showed advanced tumours (T2) with lymph node metastases; one patient died. On cytohistological examinations of channels and accessories, suspicious/neoplastic cells were found in 4/10 superficial and in all 5 advanced cancers. Further analyses in seven further advanced adenocarcinoma cases showed viable cells in two channel washing specimens. Finally, cell culture experiments demonstrated enhanced tumour cell growth by triamcinolone after 24 hours compared with controls.Tumour cell reimplanation from contaminated endoscopes and accessories is a possible cause of local recurrence after curative endoscopic therapy for superficial Barrett carcinoma; also, corticosteroid injection could have promoted tumour regrowth in these cases.