Background & aims: The exact incidence of adenocarcinoma in patients with Barrett's esophagus (BE) is not known and is reported to vary from 0.2%-2% per year. Published series of patients with BE have included relatively small numbers of patients with limited duration of follow-up. The goal of this study was to define the prevalence and incidence of dysplasia and cancer and evaluate the paths of progression in a large multicenter cohort of BE patients.
Methods: The BE study is a multicenter clinical and endoscopic outcomes project involving a single large database of patients with BE. Data from each of the participating centers were merged into the main study database. Cancers and HGD occurring within 12 months of the index endoscopy were regarded as prevalent cases.
Results: One thousand three hundred seventy-six patients met the study criteria (95% white, 14% women); 91 patients had cancer at the initial endoscopy (prevalent cases, 6.7%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 4.8%-8.7%). Six hundred eighteen patients were followed for a total of 2546 patient-years; mean follow-up was 4.12 years. Twelve patients developed cancer during follow-up, a cancer incidence of 1 in 212 patient-years of follow-up (0.5% per year; 95% CI, 0%-1.1%). The combined incidence of HGD and/or cancer was 1 in 75 patient-years of follow-up or 1.3% per year (95% CI, 0%-2.2%). Of the 34 patients developing HGD and/or cancer, 18 patients (53%) had at least 2 initial consecutive endoscopies with biopsies revealing nondysplastic mucosa. The incidence of LGD was 4.3% per year (95% CI, 2.8%-6.0%). In the 156 patients with LGD, regression to no dysplasia occurred in 66%, persistent LGD in 21%, and progression to HGD/cancer in 13%. The incidence of cancer in patients with LGD was 1 in 156 patient-years of follow-up or 0.6% per year (95% CI, 0%-1.3%).
Conclusions: Preliminary results from this trial define the prevalence and incidence of dysplasia and cancer in a multicenter cohort of patients with BE. At least half the patients who developed HGD and/or cancer had 2 consecutive initial endoscopies with biopsies revealing nondysplastic mucosa. The majority of patients with LGD regressed and had a cancer incidence similar to all BE patients.