Background: Barrett esophagus is highly prevalent in the Western world; however, only a minority of affected individuals progress to esophageal adenocarcinoma. Whereas many studies have examined risk factors for development of Barrett metaplasia, few data are available on risk factors for progression to neoplasia. Identifying simple, reliable, clinical, and endoscopic predictors of high-grade dysplasia and adenocarcinoma would be helpful for risk stratification in screening and surveillance programs.
Methods: Clinical, endoscopic, and histologic data were reviewed for patients with a new Barrett diagnosis between 2002 and 2005. Patients were classified, by an expert gastrointestinal pathologist, as having intestinal metaplasia, indefinite-for-dysplasia, low-grade dysplasia, high-grade dysplasia, and esophageal adenocarcinoma. Gender, age, race, ethnicity, hiatal hernia presence and size, Barrett segment length, H. pylori status, alcohol, smoking, proton pump inhibitor (PPI) use and duration, and reflux symptom duration were evaluated by logistic regression analysis for their association with dysplasia severity.
Results: In all, 109 patients (26 women, 83 men, mean age: 58.8) were newly diagnosed with Barrett metaplasia (n = 39), indefinite/low-grade dysplasia (n = 35), and high-grade dysplasia/esophageal adenocarcinoma (n = 35) over a 3-year period. On logistic regression analysis, duration of reflux symptoms for >or=20 years (odds ratio [OR]: 5.66, P = .012), longer Barrett segment length (OR for 3-6 cm vs. <3 cm: 9.05, P < .0001; OR for >or=6 cm: 8.374, P < .0001), hernia size >or=4 cm (OR: 10.63, P = .014), and male gender (OR: 4.03, P = .0019) were associated with higher pathologic grade. Duration of reflux symptoms and Barrett length were significant as both discrete and continuous variables. Absence of H. pylori (OR: 2.731, P = .060) approached significance in predicting dysplasia severity. In bivariate models, gender and Barrett length (continuous form) were significantly associated with grade when considered together (OR: 2.52, P = .0490 and OR: 1.30, P < .0001), as were gender and hernia size >4 cm (OR: 4.64, P = .0049 and OR: 12.18, P = .0197).
Conclusions: Male gender, longstanding gastroesophageal reflux disease, hiatal hernia size, and segment length are strongly associated with higher grades of dysplasia at index diagnosis. These factors along with H. pylori status warrant further prospective evaluation as predictors of risk for development of high-grade dysplasia and esophageal adenocarcinoma.