Barrett's oesophagus—cancer risk, biology and therapeutic management


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37 Scopus citations


Barrett's oesophagus is receiving increasing scrutiny as the rates of adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus rise. Because clinical features are not predictive of the presence of Barrett's oesophagus and most individuals with Barrett's oesophagus go undetected, a case can be made for surveillance endoscopy in patients with chronic reflux. Once Barrett's oesophagus is diagnosed patients should be entered into a surveillance programme despite lack of proof of efficacy. Scientific study of putative biological markers of increased risk has added dramatically to the understanding of the biology of the lesion, but currently the finding of high‐grade dysplasia remains the best marker predicting the presence of greatly increased risk of developing cancer. It is likely that newer molecular biology techniques will become clinically applicable biological markers in the future. Currently there is no effective medical nor surgical therapy to cause regression of the metaplastic Barrett's epithelium, however the application of novel de‐differentiating agents or ablation of the metaplastic epithelium while controlling oesophageal acid exposure and other environmental abnormalities offer hope that effective treatment of Barrett's oesophagus may someday be reality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-345
Number of pages7
JournalAlimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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