Magnitude of Missed Esophageal Adenocarcinoma After Barrett's Esophagus Diagnosis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Gastroenterology. 2016 Mar;150(3):599-607.e7; quiz e14-5. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2015.11.040. Epub 2015 Nov 24.


Background & aims: A proportion of patients with Barrett's esophagus (BE) are diagnosed with esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) within 1 year of an endoscopic examination that produced negative findings. These cases of missed cancers have not been well studied, despite current surveillance strategies for BE. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine the magnitude of missed EAC in cohorts of patients with BE.

Methods: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Web of Science from their inception to May 31, 2015 to identify cohort studies of adults with BE (baseline nondysplastic BE ± BE with low-grade dysplasia) and at least a 3-year follow-up period, providing data on missed and incident EACs (diagnosed within 1 year and diagnosed more than 1 year after the initial endoscopy in which BE was diagnosed, respectively). The main outcome measure was pooled proportion of missed and incident EACs (of all EACs detected after initial endoscopy) among BE cohorts, using a random effects model.

Results: In a meta-analysis of 24 studies reporting on 820 missed and incident EACs, 25.3% were classified as missed (95% confidence interval: 16.4%-36.8%) and 74.7% as incident EACs (95% CI: 63.2%-83.6%), although there was substantial heterogeneity among studies (I2 = 74%). When the analysis was restricted to nondysplastic BE cohorts (15 studies), 23.9% of EACs were classified as missed (95% confidence interval: 15.3%-35.4%; I2 = 0%). In a meta-analysis of 10 studies with follow-up periods of ≥5 years (a total of 239 EACs), 22.0% were classified as missed (95% confidence interval: 8.7%-45.5%), with substantial heterogeneity (I2 = 68%).

Conclusions: Among adults with nondysplastic BE (or BE with low-grade dysplasia) at their index endoscopy and at least a 3-year follow-up period, 25% of EACs are diagnosed within 1 year after the index endoscopy. Additional resources should be allocated to detect missed EAC.

Keywords: Endoscopy; Esophageal Cancer; Prevalence; Surveillance.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Barrett Esophagus / pathology*
  • Delayed Diagnosis*
  • Diagnostic Errors*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Esophagoscopy*
  • Esophagus / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Time Factors

Supplementary concepts

  • Adenocarcinoma Of Esophagus