, Volume 6, Issue 6, pp 399-414
Date: 14 Aug 2013

Carcinogenesis of Barrett’s esophagus: a review of the clinical literature


Barrett’s esophagus (BE) is a premalignant condition of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). Although the incidence of BE has risen rapidly in the West, it is rare in Asia despite a recent increase in the prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Controversies over the definition of BE are presented because most cases show short-segment BE, especially ultra-short BE, in Asia. Here we review possible risk factors for the development of EAC, particularly possible roles of ethnicity, specialized intestinal metaplasia (SIM), BE length, and environmental factors, such as Helicobacter pylori infection and obesity. Additionally, we summarize recent studies on the effect of chemoprevention including proton pump inhibitors, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or aspirin in order to reduce the risk of neoplastic progression in BE patients. Although substantial knowledge of risk factors of dysplasia/EAC in BE is shown, the risk for neoplastic development may be influenced by geographic variation, study population, the presence or absence of SIM or dysplasia at baseline, and the small number of BE patients investigated. Recently, the efficiency of surveillance for BE patients has been discussed from the standpoint of cost-effectiveness. It may be too difficult to draw conclusions because no randomized clinical trials of BE surveillance have been performed.