Background: Patients with advanced esophageal cancer frequently experience dysphagia and dyspnea, and relief of such symptoms is important. We wished to clarify the efficacy of endoscopic stent placement in patients with dysphagia or dyspnea caused by advanced esophageal cancer. Methods: A database of patients with esophageal cancer who underwent esophageal and airway stent insertion between 2005 and 2012 was analyzed retrospectively. Effects and complications of stent insertion, and survival after stent insertion, were investigated. Results: Eighteen patients were treated by esophageal (n = 10) and/or airway (n = 9) stent placement. Marked improvements in food intake were recognized in eight patients after esophageal stenting. Marked improvements in breathing were observed in all patients after airway stenting. Dysphagia scores in the esophageal stent group as well as dyspnea grades in Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events v4.0 (CTCAE 4.0) in the airway stent group were significantly improved (p = 0.0078). In the esophageal stent group, major complications (CTCAE grade ≥3) occurred in seven of ten patients (70 %). In the airway stent group, major complications occurred in three of nine patients (33 %). Median survival of all 18 patients was 87.5 (range 13–1952) days after esophageal and/or airway stent placement. Conclusions: Stent placement is effective for the improvement of malignant dysphasia and dyspnea caused by advanced esophageal cancer.
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