The incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) has increased exponentially in the last 3 decades. Barrett's esophagus (BE) is the only known precursor of EAC. Patients with BE have a greater than 40 folds higher risk of EAC compared with the general population. Recent years have witnessed a revolution in the clinical and molecular research related to BE. However, several aspects of this condition remain controversial. Data regarding the true prevalence of BE have varied widely. Recent studies have suggested a lower incidence of EAC in nondysplastic BE (NDBE) than previously reported. There is paucity of prospective data showing a survival benefit of screening or surveillance for BE. Furthermore, the ever-increasing emphasis on healthcare cost containment has called for reexamination of the screening and surveillance strategies for BE. There is a need for identification of reliable clinical predictors or molecular biomarkers to risk-stratify patients who might benefit the most from screening or surveillance for BE. Finally, new therapies have emerged for the management of dysplastic BE. In this paper, we highlight the key areas of controversy and uncertainty surrounding BE. The paper discusses, in detail, the current literature about the molecular pathogenesis, biomarkers, histopathological diagnosis, and management strategies for BE.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine