Esophageal Tumors

Focused Ultrasound Therapy

Early Stage squareFocused ultrasound is an early-stage, noninvasive, therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with esophageal tumors. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasound energy precisely and accurately on targets deep in the body without damaging surrounding normal tissue. Where the beams converge, the ultrasound produces precise ablation (thermal destruction of tissue) enabling esophageal tumors to be treated without surgery. Some preclinical work has been completed, but additional work and the translation of this to the clinical setting remains to be accomplished.

The primary options for treatment of esophageal tumors include medication and invasive surgery.

For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a noninvasive alternative to surgery with less risk of complications and lower cost.


  • Focused ultrasound is noninvasive, so it does not carry added concerns like surgical wound healing or infection.
  • Focused ultrasound can reach the desired target without damaging surrounding tissue.
  • Enhanced chemotherapy dose for the target, with less impact to the rest of the patient.
  • It can be repeated, if necessary.

Clinical Trials

At the present time, there are no clinical trials recruiting patients for focused ultrasound treatment of esophageal tumors.

See a list of laboratory research sites >

Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement

Focused ultrasound treatment for esophageal tumors is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.

Notable Papers

Diana M, Schiraldi L, Liu YY, Memeo R, Mutter D, Pessaux P, Marescaux J. High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) applied to hepato-bilio-pancreatic and the digestive system-current state of the art and future perspectives. Hepatobiliary Surg Nutr. 2016 Aug;5(4):329-44. doi: 10.21037/hbsn.2015.11.03.

Rata M, Birlea V, Murillo A, Paquet C, Cotton F, Salomir R. Endoluminal MR-guided ultrasonic applicator embedding cylindrical phased-array transducers and opposed-solenoid detection coil. Magn Reson Med. 2015 Jan;73(1):417-26. doi: 10.1002/mrm.25099. Epub 2014 Jan 29.

Rata M, Salomir R, Umathum R, Jenne J, Lafon C, Cotton F, Bock M. Endoluminal ultrasound applicator with an integrated RF coil for high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging-guided high-intensity contact ultrasound thermotherapy. Phys Med Biol. 2008;53(22):6549-67.

Melodelima D, Salomir R, Chapelon JY, Theillère Y, Moonen C, Cathignol D. Intraluminal high intensity ultrasound treatment in the esophagus under fast MR temperature mapping: in vivo studies. Magn Reson Med. 2005;54(4):975-82.

Melodelima D, Salomir R, Mougenot C, Prat F, Theillère Y, Moonen C, Cathignol D. Intraluminal ultrasound applicator compatible with magnetic resonance imaging “real-time’ temperature mapping for the treatment of esophageal tumors: an ex vivo study. Med Phys. 2004;31(2):236-44.

Click here for additional references from PubMed.