Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma

Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 1991 Dec;20(4):817-34.


Barrett's esophagus is a condition in which the normal stratified squamous epithelium is replaced by a specialized metaplastic columnar epithelium. It develops as a consequence of chronic gastroesophageal reflux and predisposes to the development of esophageal adenocarcinoma. Adenocarcinoma develops in Barrett's esophagus by a multistep process in which specialized metaplasia progresses to dysplasia, then to early adenocarcinoma, and eventually to deeply invasive and metastatic disease. This neoplastic progression is associated with a process of genomic instability that generates abnormal clones of cells, some of which have aneuploid or increased G2/tetraploid DNA content. A systematic protocol of endoscopic biopsy can detect Barrett's adenocarcinomas at an early stage, when they may be curable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / etiology*
  • Barrett Esophagus / complications*
  • Barrett Esophagus / diagnosis
  • Barrett Esophagus / epidemiology
  • Barrett Esophagus / genetics
  • Biopsy
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Esophagoscopy
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Precancerous Conditions / pathology
  • Prevalence