Background: The pattern of oesophageal carcinoma type has been changing for some time in a number of countries, with adenocarcinoma becoming more frequent
Objective: To investigate the prevalence of columnar-lined (Barrett's) oesophagus and oesophageal adenocarcinoma in Barrett's oesophagus during a 20-year period in a single centre.
Methods: All upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and histology reports for the period January 1977 to December 1996 inclusive were reviewed. Data were analysed from patients who had histologically proven Barrett's oesophagus. The data were analysed as a single cohort and in five-year bands according to the date of diagnosis.
Results: Of 44,721 endoscopies, 636 Barrett's oesophagus cases were diagnosed; 508 (323 males 185 females; M:F ratio 1.7) were histologically proven. The frequency of Barrett's oesophagus detection increased steadily from 0.2% to 1.6% of all endoscopies per five-year band. The M:F ratio and the mean ages at diagnosis (61 years, range 60-63 for males and 69 years, range 68-79 for females) remained constant throughout. Barrett's oesophagus was diagnosed at a younger age in males (peak 60-69 years) compared to females (peak 70-79 years). The male oesophageal adenocarcinoma incidence (11.1%) was almost twice that in females (6.5%). In the majority (81%), the initial diagnosis of oesophageal adenocarcinoma and Barrett's oesophagus was made concurrently.
Conclusions: The increasing Barrett's oesophagus frequency may reflect an increasing incidence or recognition of this condition or both. Barrett's oesophagus males are more likely to develop oesophageal adenocarcinoma than females.