A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Trials and Prospective Studies Comparing Covered and Bare Self-Expandable Metal Stents for the Treatment of Malignant Obstruction in the Digestive Tract
Advances in stent design have led to a substantial increase in the use of stents for a variety of malignant and benign strictures in the gastrointestinal tract and biliary system. Whereas early stents were mostly composed of plastic, the majority of contemporary stents are self-expanding metal stents that are composed of either nitinol or stainless steel. These stents are able to exert an adequate expansile force and, at the same time, are highly flexible and biocompatible. Covered stents have been introduced to minimize tumor ingrowth through the metal mesh but are associated with higher rates for spontaneous migration. This has led to the development of covered stents with uncovered ends and stents with both covered and uncovered layers. Drug-eluting and biodegradable stents are also likely to become available in the near future. Although stents appear to be the preferred form of palliation for some patients with advanced cancer, many patients will benefit from a multidisciplinary approach that usually includes surgeons and oncologists.