Intestinal metaplasia recurs infrequently in patients successfully treated for Barrett's esophagus with radiofrequency ablation

Am J Gastroenterol. 2013 Feb;108(2):187-95; quiz 196. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2012.413. Epub 2012 Dec 18.


Objectives: Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of Barrett's esophagus (BE) is safe and effective in eradicating dysplasia and intestinal metaplasia, and may reduce rates of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). We assessed rates of and risk factors for disease recurrence after successful treatment of BE with RFA.

Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study of patients who completed RFA for dysplastic BE or intramucosal carcinoma (IMC), achieved complete eradication of dysplasia (CE-D) or intestinal metaplasia (CE-IM), and underwent subsequent endoscopic surveillance at a single center. Rates of disease recurrence and progression were determined. Patients with and without recurrent disease were compared to determine risk factors for recurrence.

Results: Two hundred and sixty-two subjects underwent RFA during the study period. Of these, 119 and 112 patients were retained in endoscopic surveillance after CE-D and CE-IM, respectively. Median observation time was 397 days (range: 54-1,668 days). Eight patients (7% of those with CE-IM) had recurrent disease after a median of 235 days (range 55-1,124 days). Progression to IMC (n=1) or EAC (n=2) occurred in three of these eight patients, all of whom had pre-ablation high-grade dysplasia (HGD). Five patients had recurrence of non-dysplastic BE (n=3), low-grade dysplasia (n=1), and HGD (n=1). During 155 patient-years of observation, recurrence occurred in 5.2%/year, and progression occurred in 1.9%/year. No clinical characteristics were associated with disease recurrence.

Conclusions: In patients with BE and dysplasia or early cancer who achieved CE-IM, BE recurred in ≈ 5%/year. Patient characteristics did not predict recurrence. Subjects undergoing RFA for dysplastic BE should be retained in endoscopic surveillance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Barrett Esophagus / mortality
  • Barrett Esophagus / pathology
  • Barrett Esophagus / surgery*
  • Carcinoma / mortality
  • Carcinoma / surgery*
  • Catheter Ablation*
  • Disease Progression
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intestines / pathology*
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Metaplasia / diagnosis
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Precancerous Conditions / surgery*
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome