Prevalence of Barrett esophagus in first-degree relatives of patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma

J Clin Gastroenterol. 2011 Nov-Dec;45(10):867-71. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e31821f44a8.


Aim: The aim of this study is to determine the prevalence of Barrett esophagus (BE) in first-degree relatives of patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) and Barrett high-grade dysplasia (HGD).

Methods: After Institutional Review Board approval, first-degree relatives of patients with EAC/HGD underwent unsedated ultrathin transnasal endoscopy (UUTNE) with biopsy. BE was suspected if any salmon-colored epithelial tongues were seen above the gastroesophageal junction. A diagnosis of BE was made only if biopsy from these areas confirmed columnar-lined epithelium with intestinal metaplasia.

Results: From 23 families, 47 first-degree relatives underwent ultrathin transnasal endoscopy and 1 patient underwent routine upper endoscopy with sedation as part of this study. The mean age of cases was 44.4 years. All patients tolerated the procedure well and there were no procedure-related complications. BE was suspected in 16 (34%) patients and confirmed in 13 of 16 (27.7%) patients. There were 4 long segments (>3 cm) and 9 short segments (<3 cm) of BE.

Conclusion: There is a significantly higher than expected prevalence of BE in first-degree relatives of patients with EAC/HGD. This should be taken in to consideration to develop further screening guidelines. Further work is needed to confirm these findings. Unsedated transnasal endoscopy is a safe and well-tolerated method for BE screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / epidemiology*
  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Barrett Esophagus / diagnosis
  • Barrett Esophagus / epidemiology*
  • Barrett Esophagus / genetics
  • Biopsy
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System / adverse effects
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System / methods*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence