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Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 1999 Dec;28(4):917-45.

Barrett's esophagus. Reducing the risk of progression to adenocarcinoma.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, MCP Hahnemann University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


Barrett's metaplasia develops in 6% to 14% of individuals with gastroesophageal reflux. Barrett's adenocarcinomas are increasing in epidemic proportions for, as yet unknown, reasons; approximately 0.5% to 1% of patients with Barrett's metaplasia develop adenocarcinoma. Heartburn duration and frequency (but not severity), male gender, and white race are major risk factors for developing cancer. Obesity and smoking are weak risk factors. Survival is determined by depth of tumor invasion (stage). Once invasion of the muscularis propria occurs, most patients have developed widespread metastasis, even when clinical staging studies are negative. No currently available therapy results in prolonged survival once metastases develop. Thus, the more widespread use of effective surveillance strategies is the only currently available means for reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with Barrett's adenocarcinoma.

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