Risk factors for progression of low-grade dysplasia in patients with Barrett's esophagus

Gastroenterology. 2011 Oct;141(4):1179-86, 1186.e1. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2011.06.055. Epub 2011 Jun 30.


Background & aims: Data vary on the progression of low-grade dysplasia (LGD) in patients with Barrett's esophagus (BE); in patients with LGD, we investigated the incidence of high-grade dysplasia (HGD) and esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) and compared progression in patients with different forms of LGD (prevalent vs incident and multifocal vs unifocal). We assessed the effects of consensus diagnosis of LGD on progression rates to HGD and EAC among expert pathologists.

Methods: In a multicenter outcomes project, 210 patients with BE and LGD (classified as incident, prevalent, or persistent) were included. Patients were followed up for an average of 6.2 years (959.6 patient-years). Persistent LGD was defined as detection of LGD on ≥2 consecutive occasions during the follow-up period and extent as either unifocal (LGD at one level of BE segment) or multifocal (>1 level). Histology specimens were reviewed by 2 blinded pathologists.

Results: Six patients developed EAC (incidence of 0.44%/year), and 21 developed HGD (incidence of 1.6%/year). The incidence of the combination of HGD and EAC was 1.83%/year. There were no associations between presence of prevalent, incident, or persistent LGD and the extent of LGD with progression rates. Based on consensus diagnosis of 88 reviewed specimens, there was no difference in the progression of LGD to either EAC (the incidence based on analyses by the local pathologist was 0.18%/year, the incidence when there was agreement between the local and one central pathologist was 0.21%/year, and the incidence when all 3 pathologists were in agreement was 0.39%/year) or combined HGD and EAC (0.94%/year, 0.87%/year, and 0.84%/year, respectively).

Conclusions: Overall, patients with BE and LGD have a low annual incidence of EAC, similar to nondysplastic BE. There are no risk factors for progression and there is significant interobserver variation in diagnosis, even among expert pathologists.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Aged
  • Barrett Esophagus / mortality
  • Barrett Esophagus / pathology*
  • Biopsy
  • Disease Progression
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Esophagoscopy
  • Esophagus / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Metaplasia
  • Middle Aged
  • Observer Variation
  • Precancerous Conditions / mortality
  • Precancerous Conditions / pathology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology