Effect of Barrett's esophagus surveillance on esophageal preservation, tumor stage, and survival with esophageal adenocarcinoma

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Surveillance endoscopy has been recommended for patients with Barrett's esophagus; however, recent studies have questioned the importance owing to the new, lower, estimates of the rate of progression of Barrett's esophagus to cancer. The aim of the present study was to compare the tumor stage, survival, and frequency of esophageal preservation in patients who presented with progression of Barrett's esophagus within a surveillance program versus those who presented with prevalent disease.


A retrospective chart review was performed of all patients treated for high-grade dysplasia or esophageal adenocarcinoma from 2005 to 2010. The surveillance group included patients who had had at least 1 endoscopy and biopsy confirming intestinal metaplasia (with or without low-grade dysplasia) 6 months or more before the endoscopy showing progression.


A total of 224 patients were included in the present study, 36 in the surveillance group and 188 in the prevalence group. The surveillance patients had significantly earlier stage tumors (P < .0001) and were more likely to undergo endoscopic therapy and to keep their esophagus (44% vs 11%, P < .0001) than were patients with prevalent disease. Furthermore, the patients in the surveillance group were less likely to have lymph node metastases and had better overall and disease-free survival. No patient with high-grade dysplasia or an intramucosal tumor died of cancer.


Patients within a surveillance program for Barrett's esophagus had better survival and were less likely to have an esophagectomy than those who presented with prevalent disease. Treatment of intramucosal cancer was curative, and improved survival with surveillance was not secondary to lead time bias. Surveillance endoscopy remains important in patients with Barrett's esophagus.

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