Developing a nonendoscopic screening test for Barrett's esophagus

Biomark Med. 2011 Jun;5(3):397-404. doi: 10.2217/bmm.11.40.


Barrett's esophagus (BE) arises as a complication of chronic gastro-esophageal reflux disease and is the precursor lesion for esophageal adenocarcinoma. The prevalence of esophageal adenocarcinoma has been increasing in Western countries and the overall prognosis from this cancer remains dismal. Surveillance for BE is highly controversial since although early cancer detection through surveillance programs benefits individuals, surveillance has not been proven to reduce population mortality from the disease. One factor contributing to this apparent paradox is that an estimated >80% cases of BE are undiagnosed and, therefore, do not have the benefit of surveillance. Some form of screening modality is required to achieve more comprehensive detection of BE, which in turn, may lead to early detection of cancerous lesions and early intervention in order to reduce progression to invasive and symptomatic cancer. The advent of endoscopic therapy makes this paradigm attractive. A number of methods could be considered for screening. These include a nonendoscopic sampling method using a Cytosponge that needs to be coupled with a biomarker to obtain required levels of sensitivity and specificity. For screening to be recommended consideration needs to be given to the point of delivery, cost and acceptability to patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Barrett Esophagus / diagnosis*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal
  • Humans
  • Peptides / genetics
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Risk Factors
  • Trefoil Factor-2


  • Biomarkers
  • Peptides
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Trefoil Factor-2