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Surveillance and screening for Barrett esophagus and adenocarcinoma

Surveillance and screening for Barrett esophagus and adenocarcinoma

Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology 39(4 Suppl 2): S33-S41

Current recommendations for screening and surveillance of Barrett esophagus and related lesions are based on recent guidelines by the Practice Parameters Committee of the American College of Gastroenterology. The purpose of this review is to critically examine the rationale and evidence behind these recommendations. There is strong rationale for vigorous initial testing to document the baseline status and identify early adenocarcinoma, and for surveillance of high-grade dysplasia. Recommendations for esophagectomy in patients with high-grade dysplasia need to be individualized. However, recommendations for surveillance of low-grade dysplasia and specialized intestinal metaplasia without dysplasia are largely opinion statements not well supported by objective data. Although cancers identified by surveillance are at earlier stages than those diagnosed without prior endoscopic evaluation, surveillance failures are common. Recommendations for screening and surveillance are not evidence-based and unlikely to alter national mortality from esophageal adenocarcinoma. Their impact on individual patients depends on individual circumstances. Current recommendations are limited by inconsistent endoscopic findings and sampling errors, inconsistent histologic diagnoses of Barrett esophagus and dysplasia, and our poor understanding of the natural history of various histologic lesions. Future directions include validation of methods that reduce these inconsistencies by in vivo detection of abnormalities and by objective diagnostic markers besides grades of dysplasia, such DNA content analysis and molecular markers, and improved understanding of the disease progression. Effective screening programs depend on development of simple, inexpensive, and reliable methods to identify the small group of patients truly at high risk for adenocarcinoma for endoscopic screening.

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Accession: 050470148

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 15758657

DOI: 10.1097/01.mcg.0000155859.26557.45

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