Objective: The reported incidence of adenocarcinoma in Barrett's esophagus is variable. The aim of this study was to determine the incidence of dysplasia and adenocarcinoma in a population of patients with Barrett's esophagus followed prospectively and to compare these findings with other series.
Methods: All patients enrolled in the Cleveland Clinic Foundation's Barrett's esophagus registry from 1979 to 1995 were followed. Barrett's esophagus was defined as intestinal metaplasia anywhere in the tubular esophagus. The incidence of dysplasia and adenocarcinoma in these patients was recorded systematically.
Results: A total of 136 patients (91 male, 45 female) were followed in an endoscopic surveillance program for a mean of 4.2 yr and a total of 570 patient-years of follow-up. Thirty patients (22%) had short segment Barrett's esophagus. Two adenocarcinomas developed during follow-up, yielding an incidence of one per 285 patient-years of follow-up. Low grade dysplasia developed in 24 patients, whereas high grade dysplasia developed in four patients.
Conclusions: Our study suggests that the incidence of adenocarcinoma in Barrett's esophagus is lower than initially thought. However, large multicenter studies are required to clarify the epidemiological and clinical factors related to the development of dysplasia and adenocarcinoma in Barrett's esophagus.