Objectives: Patients with Barrett's esophagus (BE) have an increased risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). As the absolute risk remains low, there is a need for predictors of neoplastic progression to tailor more individualized surveillance programs. The aim of this study was to identify such predictors of progression to high-grade dysplasia (HGD) and EAC in patients with BE after 4 years of surveillance and to develop a prediction model based on these factors.
Methods: We included 713 patients with BE (≥ 2 cm) with no dysplasia (ND) or low-grade dysplasia (LGD) in a multicenter, prospective cohort study. Data on age, gender, body mass index (BMI), reflux symptoms, tobacco and alcohol use, medication use, upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy findings, and histology were prospectively collected. As part of this study, patients with ND underwent surveillance every 2 years, whereas those with LGD were followed on a yearly basis. Log linear regression analysis was performed to identify risk factors associated with the development of HGD or EAC during surveillance.
Results: After 4 years of follow-up, 26/713 (3.4%) patients developed HGD or EAC, with the remaining 687 patients remaining stable with ND or LGD. Multivariable analysis showed that a known duration of BE of ≥ 10 years (risk ratio (RR) 3.2; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3-7.8), length of BE (RR 1.11 per cm increase in length; 95% CI 1.01-1.2), esophagitis (RR 3.5; 95% CI 1.3-9.5), and LGD (RR 9.7; 95% CI 4.4-21.5) were significant predictors of progression to HGD or EAC. In a prediction model, we found that the annual risk of developing HGD or EAC in BE varied between 0.3% and up to 40%. Patients with ND and no other risk factors had the lowest risk of developing HGD or EAC (<1%), whereas those with LGD and at least one other risk factor had the highest risk of neoplastic progression (18-40%).
Conclusions: In patients with BE, the risk of developing HGD or EAC is predominantly determined by the presence of LGD, a known duration of BE of ≥10 years, longer length of BE, and presence of esophagitis. One or combinations of these risk factors are able to identify patients with a low or high risk of neoplastic progression and could therefore be used to individualize surveillance intervals in BE.