Background and Aims: Self-expandable metal stents are used for the treatment of anastomotic leaks after gastro- esophageal surgery. Predictors for treatment failure and complications are unknown. In this observational retrospective study, we summarize our experience with self-expandable metal stents for the treatment of anastomotic leaks, in order to determine the predictors of treatment failure.

Methods: Between 2009 and 2015, 34 patients with anastomotic leak after curative resection of gastro- esophageal cancer were treated with self-expandable metal stents. Gender, histology, comorbidity, body mass index, neoadjuvant therapy, previous surgery, leak size, and stent diameter were analyzed for their predictive value according to treatment success and complication rate.

Results: Leak closure rate was 76%. Risk factors for treatment failure were neoadjuvant chemo-radiotherapy, squamous cell histology, and esophageal tumor location. Gender, comorbidity, body mass index, neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and previous surgery were not correlated with outcome. Mortality rate was 20%, most often due to uncontrolled leak. Severe stent-related complications occurred in 15% of patients, most of them following insertion of a large-sized stent.

Conclusion: Squamous cell histology, neoadjuvant chemo-radiotherapy, and esophageal tumor location are predictors for treatment failure. Severe stent-related complications seem to be preferentially associated with the use of large-sized stents.


Gastro-esophageal cancer, anastomotic leakage, self-expanding metal stent, endoscopic therapy, neoadjuvant therapy