Background: Intestinal metaplasia in the tubular esophagus is the recognized precancerous lesion of adenocarcinoma in Barrett esophagus. However, it is not yet clear whether adenocarcinoma of the gastric cardia arises from the same premalignant lesion, i.e., intestinal metaplasia of the gastric cardia. The purpose of this study was to compare adenocarcinomas in Barrett esophagus and adenocarcinomas of the gastric cardia at an early stage, when it was more likely that intestinal metaplasia had not been completely overgrown by the tumor.
Methods: The authors compared the epidemiologic, clinical, and pathologic features of early stage adenocarcinoma in Barrett esophagus and adenocarcinoma of the gastric cardia from 42 patients who underwent resection surgery. The presence of intestinal metaplasia was assessed in the resected specimens by using Alcian blue (pH 2.5) staining.
Results: Intestinal metaplasia was detected in the mucosa adjacent to neoplasia in 25 of 26 patients with adenocarcinoma in Barrett esophagus and in 11 of 16 (69%) patients with adenocarcinoma of the gastric cardia. Patient and tumor characteristics and survival were comparable in both groups.
Conclusions: Intestinal metaplasia is a very common finding in the mucosa adjacent to early stage adenocarcinoma of the gastric cardia. Adenocarcinoma in Barrett esophagus and adenocarcinoma of the gastric cardia may represent the same disease; the former arises from longer segments of intestinal metaplasia and the latter from intestinal metaplasia of the cardia.
Copyright 2000 American Cancer Society.