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Pathology. 2001 Aug;33(3):271-7.

Timely topic: Premalignant lesions associated with adenocarcinoma of the upper gastrointestinal tract.

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Department of Pathology, Mayne Medical School, University of Queensland, Herston, Australia.


The changing incidence of adenocarcinomas, particularly in the oesophagus and gastric cardia, has led to the rapid expansion of screening programmes aimed at detecting the precursor lesion of dysplasia before adenocarcinoma develops. The pathologist now has an important role in first diagnosing patients at risk for developing dysplasia, and then correctly classifying dysplasia when it occurs. Barrett's oesophagus has had different diagnostic criteria in previous years but is currently diagnosed by the presence of intestinal metaplasia of any length in the true oesophagus. Intestinal metaplasia confined only to the gastro-oesophageal junction or cardia is of uncertain significance but is probably common, with less risk of progressing to dysplasia or malignancy. In the stomach, patients with autoimmune atrophic gastritis and Helicobacter-associated multifocal atrophic gastritis have an increased risk of adenocarcinoma, but screening protocols are not well-developed compared with those used for Barrett's oesophagus. Dysplasia of glandular epithelium can be classified using well-described criteria. Low grade dysplasia is the most common type and regresses or remains stable in the majority of patients. High grade dysplasia is more ominous clinically, with a propensity to coexist with or progress to adenocarcinoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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