In Focus

Diagnosis and management of gastric intestinal metaplasia in the United States



Gastric atrophy and gastric intestinal metaplasia are considered precancerous lesions with an increased risk of development of gastric cancer. H. pylori is a major risk factor for the development of GIM. The extent of GIM as well as the presence of incomplete intestinal metaplasia, or type III intestinal metaplasia has been found to have the highest gastric cancer risk. Currently, in the United States, specific guidelines on endoscopic screening and surveillance for noncardia gastric adenocarcinoma based on histological subtype of GIM, location, and extension are lacking. The ESGE recently updated guidelines that recommend surveillance of patients with extensive atrophy and intestinal metaplasia or with a significant family history. Location and extension of intestinal metaplasia plays a role in increased risk. Screening should include a standardized upper endoscopy approach with high-definition white- light endoscopy and NBI, at least a 7-minute examination, adequate insufflation and cleaning, adequate photo documentation, and a standardized biopsy protocol. Further studies are needed to determine an appropriate surveillance interval and standardized pathology reporting approach as well.

Diana Curras-Martin MD, is an internal medicine resident at Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center. Susana Gonzalez, MD, is assistant professor of medicine in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology (@WCM_GI), Weill Cornell Medicine, New York Presbyterian Hospital–Cornell.


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