Prevention of the neoplastic progression of Barrett's oesophagus by endoscopic argon beam plasma ablation

Br J Surg. 2001 Oct;88(10):1357-62. doi: 10.1046/j.0007-1323.2001.01926.x.


Background: Patients with Barrett's oesophagus have a risk of approximately 1 per 100 patient-years for the development of oesophageal adenocarcinoma. Endoscopic ablation of Barrett's oesophagus has been shown to lead to the regrowth of a 'neo' squamous epithelium if gastro-oesophageal reflux is controlled, but the incidence of subsequent tumour formation is unknown.

Methods: The follow-up of 55 patients who underwent endoscopic ablation of Barrett's oesophagus by argon beam plasma coagulation (ABPC) is reported. Of the 55 patients, nine had low-grade dysplasia, nine had high-grade dysplasia and the remainder had non-dysplastic Barrett's metaplasia. Twelve patients had reflux control by antireflux surgery and the remainder received proton pump inhibitor therapy. Barrett's metaplasia was ablated by ABPC to within 2 cm of the gastro-oesophageal junction.

Results: To date, one patient has died and one patient was unable to complete treatment. The remaining patients were followed by regular endoscopic surveillance for a mean of 38.5 months to give a total follow-up of 173.5 patient-years. No malignancy has developed in any patient during follow-up.

Conclusion: The absence of malignant complications in this study of prophylactic ablation of long-segment Barrett's oesophagus strengthens the argument for endoscopic ablation in the prevention of oesophageal adenocarcinoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / prevention & control*
  • Argon
  • Barrett Esophagus / prevention & control*
  • Catheter Ablation / methods*
  • Disease Progression
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Esophagoscopy / methods*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans


  • Argon