Background: Barrett esophagus, a consequence of chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a premalignant condition for adenocarcinoma of the esophagus and, possibly, the gastric cardia. However, the actual use and clinical impact of upper gastrointestinal endoscopy in screening and surveillance for Barrett esophagus are unknown.
Methods: A cohort included 1633 patients with adenocarcinoma (777 esophagus, 856 cardia) who were 70 years or older. They were diagnosed between 1993 and 1996 and were identified from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results program registry. All claims for upper endoscopy and a diagnosis of Barrett esophagus from 1991 through 1 year before diagnosis were identified from linked Medicare files.
Results: One or more upper endoscopies before diagnosis were performed in 9.7% of patients (13.0% esophagus, 6.8% cardia) and a diagnosis of Barrett esophagus was present in only 3.7% of patients. A shift toward earlier stage at diagnosis was observed in patients with previous endoscopy or Barrett diagnosis. For example, 62% of patients with esophageal and 49% of patients with cardia tumors who underwent previous endoscopy presented with in situ or local stage carcinoma, compared with 35% and 27% of other patients, respectively. Receipt of endoscopy was also associated with a reduced risk of death for esophageal adenocarcinoma (relative hazard 0.73, 95% confidence interval 0.57-0.93; P = 0.01), but not for adenocarcinoma of the cardia.
Conclusions: Receipt of upper endoscopy at least 1 year before diagnosis of adenocarcinoma, which may reflect prediagnosis screening, was associated with an earlier tumor stage and improved survival. These data support the role of endoscopic screening and surveillance for Barrett esophagus and highlight the underdiagnosis of populations at risk.
Copyright 2002 American Cancer Society.DOI 10.1002/cncr.10646