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Gastrointest Endosc. 1999 Jul;50(1):23-6.

Variable pathologic interpretation of columnar lined esophagus by general pathologists in community practice.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology/Hepatology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Pathologic interpretation of biopsy specimens of columnar lined esophagus guides subsequent endoscopic surveillance and/or surgical intervention. The aim of this study was to evaluate pathologic interpretation of columnar lined esophagus by general pathologists in community practice.

METHODS:

Five histologic slides representing different types of columnar lined esophagus were submitted for review by 20 randomly selected general pathologists in community practice. There were three cases with intestinal metaplasia (one with no dysplasia, one with low-grade dysplasia, and one with high-grade dysplasia) and two cases of gastric metaplasia (one fundic-type and one cardia-type).

RESULTS:

High-grade dysplasia was identified as such by 30% of pathologists and was called invasive adenocarcinoma by 20%, low-grade dysplasia by 30%, and moderate dysplasia by the remaining 20%. Low-grade dysplasia was identified as such by 35% of pathologists and was called high-grade dysplasia by 20%, moderate dysplasia by 20%, and no dysplasia by 25%. Specialized columnar epithelium with no dysplasia was identified as such by 35%, called low-grade dysplasia by 35%, moderate dysplasia by 15%, indeterminate for dysplasia by 10%, and invasive adenocarcinoma by 5%. Gastric metaplasia without specialized columnar epithelium was identified as Barrett's esophagus in 38% of cases.

CONCLUSIONS:

Pathologic interpretation of columnar lined esophagus by community pathologists may be subject to marked interobserver variation. The term Barrett's esophagus is often used to describe columnar lined esophagus without goblet cells. Because this finding is not clearly associated with an increased risk of cancer, these data support recent suggestions that the term Barrett's esophagus be abandoned. Interpretations of both high-grade and low-grade dysplasia should be considered for review by experts in esophageal pathology.

PMID:
10385717
DOI:
10.1016/s0016-5107(99)70339-1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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