Background: The natural history of Barrett's Oeosphagus is not completely clarified and Barrett's Oeosphagus Registries are considered useful tools to expand our knowledge on this disease. A Barrett's Oeosphagus Registry has been therefore established in the Veneto Region and neighbouring provinces.
Aims: The aims of the Registry are to assess the demographical, endoscopical and histological characteristics of Barrett's Oeosphagus patients; the prevalence of non-invasive neoplasia and Barrett's Adenocarcinoma and the timing and incidence of Barrett's Oeosphagus progression to malignancy.
Methods: An interdisciplinary committee of endoscopists, pathologists and information technology experts was established in 2004 to design a website-based Barrett's Oesophagus Registry for the Veneto Region and neighbouring north-eastern Italian provinces. Protocols for endoscopies and biopsies and standard reports were carefully defined.
Results: In the first 18 months, 397 patients with endoscopically visible and histologically proven Barrett's Oeosphagus were enrolled in the Registry; the median age of these patients was 66 years (male:female=3:1). Most patients (75%) had a Short Segment of Barrett's Oesophagus (<or=3 cm) and only 1 in 4 had a Long Segment of Barrett's Oesophagus (>3 cm). Long Segment of Barrett's Oesophagus patients were 5 years older than the Short Segment of Barrett's Oesophagus patients (p<0.05), suggesting a progression from Short Segment of Barrett's Oesophagus to Long Segment of Barrett's Oesophagus. Though no data are available on the incidence of non-invasive neoplasia or Barrett's Adenocarcinoma (i.e., progression to cancer at least 12 months after enrolment), the prevalence of neoplastic lesions (found within 12 months of enrolment) was 5% for Short Segment of Barrett's Oesophagus and 19% for Long Segment of Barrett's Oesophagus, indicating that a careful multiple-biopsy endoscopic protocol is needed, especially when Long Segment of Barrett's Oesophagus are suspected at endoscopy. The prevalence of Barrett's Adenocarcinoma among patients with non-invasive neoplasia was 1/17 cases of low-grade non-invasive neoplasia and 2/3 cases of high-grade non-invasive neoplasia, indicating that these patients require strict endoscopic and bioptic follow-up.
Conclusion: A regional Barrett's Oeosphagus Registry is feasible at a relatively low cost and enables significant data to be collected in a relatively short time. The use of a standardised endoscopic nomenclature and report form, a strict biopsy protocol, a standard report for pathologists improves the quality of endoscopic and histological diagnoses.