Patients with nondysplastic Barrett's esophagus have low risks for developing dysplasia or esophageal adenocarcinoma

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2011 Mar;9(3):220-7; quiz e26. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2010.11.008. Epub 2010 Nov 27.


Background & aims: The risks of dysplasia and esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) are not clear for patients with nondysplastic Barrett's esophagus (NDBE); the rate of progression has been overestimated in previous studies. We studied the incidences of dysplasia and EAC and investigated factors associated with progression of BE.

Methods: The BE study is a multicenter outcomes project of a large cohort of patients with BE. Neoplasia was graded as low-grade dysplasia, high-grade dysplasia (HGD), or EAC. Patients followed up for at least 1 year after the index endoscopy examination were included, whereas those diagnosed with dysplasia and EAC within 1 year of diagnosis with BE (prevalent cases) were excluded. Of 3334 patients with BE, 1204 met the inclusion criteria (93.7% Caucasian; 88% male; mean age, 59.3 y) and were followed up for a mean of 5.52 years (6644.5 patient-years).

Results: Eighteen patients developed EAC (incidence, 0.27%/y; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.17-0.43) and 32 developed HGD (incidence, 0.48%/y; 95% CI, 0.34-0.68). The incidence of HGD and EAC was 0.63%/y (95% CI, 0.47-0.86). There were 217 cases of low-grade dysplasia (incidence, 3.6%/y; 95% CI, 3.2-4.1). Five and 10 years after diagnosis, 98.6% (n = 540) and 97.1% (n = 155) of patients with NDBE were cancer free, respectively. The length of the BE was associated significantly with progression (EAC <6 cm, 0.09%/y vs EAC ≥ 6 cm, 0.65%/y; P = 0.001).

Conclusions: There is a lower incidence of dysplasia and EAC among patients with NDBE than previously reported. Because most patients are cancer free after a long-term follow-up period, surveillance intervals might be lengthened, especially for patients with shorter segments of BE.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / epidemiology*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Aged
  • Barrett Esophagus / complications*
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Esophagus / pathology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Survival Analysis