Population-based study reveals new risk-stratification biomarker panel for Barrett's esophagus

Gastroenterology. 2012 Oct;143(4):927-35.e3. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2012.06.041. Epub 2012 Jul 3.


Background & aims: The risk of progression of Barrett's esophagus (BE) to esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) is low and difficult to calculate. Accurate tools to determine risk are needed to optimize surveillance and intervention. We assessed the ability of candidate biomarkers to predict which cases of BE will progress to EAC or high-grade dysplasia and identified those that can be measured in formalin-fixed tissues.

Methods: We analyzed data from a nested case-control study performed using the population-based Northern Ireland BE Register (1993-2005). Cases who progressed to EAC (n = 89) or high-grade dysplasia ≥ 6 months after diagnosis with BE were matched to controls (nonprogressors, n = 291), for age, sex, and year of BE diagnosis. Established biomarkers (abnormal DNA content, p53, and cyclin A expression) and new biomarkers (levels of sialyl Lewis(a), Lewis(x), and Aspergillus oryzae lectin [AOL] and binding of wheat germ agglutinin) were assessed in paraffin-embedded tissue samples from patients with a first diagnosis of BE. Conditional logistic regression analysis was applied to assess odds of progression for patients with dysplastic and nondysplastic BE, based on biomarker status.

Results: Low-grade dysplasia and all biomarkers tested, other than Lewis(x), were associated with risk of EAC or high-grade dysplasia. In backward selection, a panel comprising low-grade dysplasia, abnormal DNA ploidy, and AOL most accurately identified progressors and nonprogressors. The adjusted odds ratio for progression of patients with BE with low-grade dysplasia was 3.74 (95% confidence interval, 2.43-5.79) for each additional biomarker and the risk increased by 2.99 for each additional factor (95% confidence interval, 1.72-5.20) in patients without dysplasia.

Conclusions: Low-grade dysplasia, abnormal DNA ploidy, and AOL can be used to identify patients with BE most likely to develop EAC or high-grade dysplasia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Aged
  • Aneuploidy
  • Barrett Esophagus / metabolism*
  • Barrett Esophagus / pathology*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • CA-19-9 Antigen
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / pathology
  • Cyclin A / metabolism
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lectins / metabolism
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Northern Ireland
  • Oligosaccharides / metabolism
  • Precancerous Conditions / metabolism*
  • Precancerous Conditions / pathology
  • ROC Curve
  • Registries
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sialyl Lewis X Antigen
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism
  • Wheat Germ Agglutinins / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • CA-19-9 Antigen
  • Cyclin A
  • Lectins
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Sialyl Lewis X Antigen
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Wheat Germ Agglutinins