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Am J Gastroenterol. 2007 Mar;102(3):483-93; quiz 694.

Extent of low-grade dysplasia is a risk factor for the development of esophageal adenocarcinoma in Barrett's esophagus.

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Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.



Previous studies that evaluated extent of high-grade dysplasia (HGD) as a risk factor for esophageal adenocarcinoma (EA) in Barrett's esophagus (BE) were conflicting, and no prior study has evaluated extent of low-grade dysplasia (LGD) as a risk factor. The aim of this discovery study was to evaluate the hypothesis that extent of LGD and HGD are risk factors for progression to EA.


We evaluated baseline biopsies from 77 BE patients with dysplasia including 44 who progressed to EA and 33 who did not progress during follow-up. The total numbers of LGD and HGD crypts were determined separately by counting all crypts and the extent of LGD, HGD, and total dysplasia were correlated with EA outcome.


Thirty-one and 46 patients had a maximum diagnosis of LGD and HGD, respectively. When the crypts were stratified by dysplasia grade, the mean number of LGD crypts per patient was borderline higher in progressors (93.9) compared with nonprogressors (41.2, P= 0.07), and the mean proportion of LGD crypts per patient was significantly higher in progressors (46.4%vs 26.0%, P= 0.037). Neither the mean number of HGD crypts per patient (P= 0.14) nor the mean proportion of HGD crypts per patient (P= 0.20) was significantly associated with EA outcome.


The extent of LGD is a significant risk factor for the development of EA in BE in this study. Although the presence of HGD is significantly associated with a greater relative risk for development of EA, the extent of HGD was not an independent risk factor for progression.

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