An unwanted complication of erosive esophagitis is Barrett's epithelium, which is the pre-malignant condition for adenocarcinoma of the esophagus.
A research team from Yokohama City University School of Medicine hypothesized that some macroscopic features of Barrett's epithelium might be useful for identifying a subgroup with a high risk for the development of esophageal adenocarcinoma. Their study will be published on January 28, 2010 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology
They enrolled 869 patients who underwent endoscopy during a health checkup at their hospital. Based on the Prague C & M Criteria, they originally classified cases of Barrett's epithelium into two types based on its shape, namely, flame-like and lotus-like Barrett's epithelium, and into two groups based on its length, its C extent < 2 cm, and ≥ 2 cm.
They found that Barrett's epithelium was diagnosed in 374 cases (43%). Most of these were diagnosed as short-segment Barrett's epithelium. The prevalence of erosive esophagitis was significantly higher in subjects with flame-like than lotus-like Barrett's epithelium, and in those with a C extent of ≥ 2 cm than < 2 cm.
This study may represent a future strategy for intervention in the prevention of esophageal adenocarcinoma.