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, 26 (5), 816-24

From GERD to Barrett's Esophagus: Is the Pattern in Asia Mirroring That in the West?


From GERD to Barrett's Esophagus: Is the Pattern in Asia Mirroring That in the West?

Khek Yu Ho. J Gastroenterol Hepatol.


Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a known predisposing factor for Barrett's esophagus. Amongst individuals with symptomatic GERD, the prevalence of Barrett esophagus is estimated to be more than 10%, and an individual with Barrett's esophagus is more likely than the general population to develop esophageal adenocarcinoma. In Western Europe and North America, incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma had been on the upward trend for many decades. In comparison, although the prevalence of GERD and reflux esophagitis has increased several fold in some parts of Asia, the prevalence of esophageal adenocarcinoma and Barrett's esophagus remains generally low in the region. Rising incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma has been observed in regions witnessing increasing prevalence of GERD. If the recent increase in prevalence of GERD in parts of urbanized Asia is any indication of the beginning of an upsurge in the incidence of Barrett's esophagus and associated adenocarcinoma, would we be witnessing a pattern of epidemiological shift mirroring that in the West? Given that more than 90% of Barrett's esophagus in Asian patients is of the short-segment type, which is reported to have lesser propensity to develop to adenocarcinoma, could the ongoing epidemiologic transition take Asia on the same trail as that which the West has taken? This article will draw on relevant findings from various parts of Asia and take an in-depth look at prevailing disease trends to see where Asia stands now in the changing epidemiology of GERD, Barrett's esophagus and associated adenocarcinoma.

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