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.