From the Journals

Model predicted Barrett’s esophagus progression


Key clinical point: A model containing four risk factors identified patients with Barrett’s esophagus at significantly increased risk of progression to high-grade dysplasia or esophageal adenocarcinoma.

Major finding: Scores assigned identified patients with BE that progressed to HGD or EAC with a c statistic of 0.76 (95% CI, 0.72 to 0.80; P less than .001).

Data source: A multicenter, longitudinal study of 2,697 patients with Barrett’s esophagus.

Disclosures: There were no funding sources. Dr. Parasa had no disclosures. One coinvestigator disclosed ties to Cook Medical, CDx Diagnostics, and Cosmo Pharmaceuticals.

Source: Parasa S et al. Gastroenterology. 2017 Dec 19. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2017.12.009.

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Comment by Dr. Prateek Sharma on Barrett’s esophagus (BE)

Barrett’s esophagus (BE) is the only known precursor lesion to esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC), a rapidly rising cancer in the Western world, which has a poor 5-year survival rate of less than 20%. Management strategies to affect EAC incidence include screening and surveillance, with current guidelines recommending surveillance for all patients with a diagnosis of BE.
However, there are several challenges associated with adopting BE surveillance for all patients: It is estimated that anywhere from 2 million to 5 million U.S. adults may harbor BE, and the overall risk of BE progression to EAC is low (approximately 0.2%-0.4% annually). Both of these factors influence the cost-effectiveness of a global BE surveillance program.
Hence, a risk-stratification score that can distinguish BE patients who are at high risk for progression to high-grade dysplasia (HGD) and/or EAC from those whose disease will not progress will be extremely useful. This concept would be similar to other risk-scoring mechanisms, such as the MELD score for progression in liver disease.

Dr. Prateek Sharma

With use of a large multicenter cohort of patients with BE (more than 4,500 patients), this is the first risk-prediction score developed and validated using baseline demographic and endoscopy information to determine risk of progression. Readily available factors such as patient sex, smoking status, BE length, and confirmed histology were identified as risk factors for progression, which could then generate a score determining the individual patient’s risk of progression. Such a simple scoring system has the potential of tailoring management based on the risk factors. In the future, inclusion of molecular biomarkers along with this score may further enhance its potential for personalized medicine in BE patients.
Prateek Sharma, MD, is a professor of medicine of University of Kansas, Kansas City. He has no conflicts of interest.



A scoring model encompassing just four traits accurately predicted which patients with Barrett’s esophagus were most likely to develop high-grade dysplasia or esophageal adenocarcinoma, researchers reported in the April issue of Gastroenterology (2017 Dec 19. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2017.12.009).

Those risk factors included sex, smoking, length of Barrett’s esophagus, and the presence of baseline low-grade dysplasia, said Sravanthi Parasa, MD, of Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, and her associates. For example, a male with a history of smoking found to have a 5-cm, nondysplastic Barrett’s esophagus on histology during his index endoscopy would fall into the model’s intermediate risk category, with a 0.7% annual risk of progression to high-grade dysplasia or esophageal adenocarcinoma, they explained. “This model has the potential to complement molecular biomarker panels currently in development,” they wrote.

Barrett’s esophagus increases the risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma by anywhere from 30 to 125 times, a range that reflects the multifactorial nature of progression and the hypothesis that not all patients with Barrett’s esophagus should undergo the same frequency of endoscopic surveillance, said the researchers. To incorporate predictors of progression into a single model, they analyzed prospective data from nearly 3,000 patients with Barrett’s esophagus who were followed for a median of 6 years at five centers in the United States and one center in the Netherlands. At baseline, patients were an average of 55 years old (standard deviation, 20 years), 84% were men, 88% were white, and the average Barrett’s esophagus length was 3.7 cm (SD, 3.2 cm).

The researchers created the model by starting with many demographic and clinical candidate variables and then using backward selection to eliminate those that did not predict progression with a P value of .05 or less. This is the same method used in the Framingham Heart Study, they noted. In all, 154 (6%) patients with Barrett’s esophagus developed high-grade dysplasia or esophageal adenocarcinoma, with an annual progression rate of about 1%. The significant predictors of progression included male sex, smoking, length of Barrett’s esophagus, and low-grade dysplasia at baseline. A model that included only these four variables distinguished progressors from nonprogressors with a c statistic of 0.76 (95% confidence interval, 0.72 to 0.80; P less than .001). Using 30% of patients as an internal validation cohort, the model’s calibration slope was 0.99 and its calibration intercept was -0.09 cohort (perfectly calibrated models have a slope of 1.0 and an intercept of 0.0).

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