Phenotype of Barrett's esophagus and intestinal metaplasia of the distal esophagus and gastroesophageal junction: an immunohistochemical study of cytokeratins 7 and 20, Das-1 and 45 MI

Am J Surg Pathol. 2001 Jan;25(1):87-94. doi: 10.1097/00000478-200101000-00010.


The pathogenesis of short segment Barrett's esophagus (SSBE) and intestinal metaplasia (IM) of the gastroesophageal junction (IMGEJ) are poorly understood. Also, these conditions are difficult to distinguish from one another based solely on endoscopic and pathologic criteria. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the immunophenotypic features of SSBE and IMGEJ and to compare the results with lesions of known etiologies: long segment BE (LSBE) caused by reflux disease and Helicobacter pylori-induced IM of the gastric antrum (IMGA). Routinely processed mucosal biopsy specimens from 11 patients with LSBE, 17 with SSBE, 10 with IMGEJ, 16 with IMGA, 17 with a normal nonmetaplastic GEJ, and 7 patients with a normal gastric antrum were immunohistochemically stained with monoclonal antibodies to: Das1, an antibody shown to react specifically with colonic goblet cells; 45M1, an antibody that recognizes the M1 gastric mucin antigen; and cytokeratin (CK) 7 and 20, antibodies that have previously been reported to show specific staining patterns in BE versus IMGA. Also evaluated was nonintestinalized mucinous epithelium from LSBE, SSBE, and also the normal GEJ and gastric antrum. LSBE, SSBE, and IMGEJ showed similar prevalences of Das1 (91% versus 88% versus 100%) and 45M1 reactivity (100% versus 100% versus 100%), and a similar pattern of CK7/20 reactivity (diffuse strong CK7 staining of the surface and crypt epithelium, and strong surface and superficial crypt CK20 staining) (91% versus 94% versus 90%). In contrast, although 45M1 reactivity in IMGA (93%) was similar to that of the other three groups, IMGA showed a significantly lower prevalence of Das positivity (13%, p < 0.001), and only a 14% prevalence of the CK7/20 staining pattern that was predominant in the other three groups (p < 0.001). Das1, 45M1, and CK7/20 staining were similar in nonintestinalized "cardia-type" mucinous epithelium from LSBE, SSBE, and the GEJ, but all were distinct from the normal gastric antrum. In summary, the immunophenotypic features of SSBE and IMGEJ are similar and closely resemble those seen in classic LSBE, but are distinct from IMGA. This may indicate that IM in LSBE, SSBE and at the GEJ have similar biologic properties. Based on our data, SSBE and IMGEJ cannot be distinguished on the basis of their immunophenotype.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies
  • Barrett Esophagus / immunology
  • Barrett Esophagus / pathology*
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Esophagogastric Junction / immunology
  • Esophagogastric Junction / pathology*
  • Esophagogastric Junction / virology
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / immunology
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping / methods
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / analysis
  • Keratin-20
  • Keratin-7
  • Keratins / analysis
  • Metaplasia / immunology
  • Metaplasia / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Antibodies
  • Biomarkers
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • KRT20 protein, human
  • KRT7 protein, human
  • Keratin-20
  • Keratin-7
  • Keratins