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Concept: Barrett's esophagus

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Patients with Barrett’s esophagus (BE) are at an increased risk for developing esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC); thus they may undergo regular endoscopic surveillance. If epithelial changes cannot be unequivocally classified as negative or positive for dysplasia, a diagnosis of indefinite for dysplasia (IND) is recommended. Several biomarkers have been proposed as markers or predictors of neoplasia in the general BE population; however, their significance is not clear in patients with BE-IND. We therefore performed a retrospective study to determine whether expression of these biomarkers was associated with the development of neoplasia in BE-IND patients.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Retrospective, Gastroesophageal reflux disease, Esophagogastroduodenoscopy, Esophageal cancer, Barrett's esophagus, Metaplasia

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Background There is convincing evidence that alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancer of the colorectum, breast, larynx, liver, esophagus, oral cavity and pharynx. Most of the data derive from studies that focused on the effect of moderate/high alcohol intakes, while little is known about light alcohol drinking (up to 1 drink/day). Patients and methods We evaluated the association between light drinking and cancer of the colorectum, breast, larynx, liver, esophagus, oral cavity and pharynx, through a meta-analytic approach. We searched epidemiological studies using PubMed, ISI Web of Science and EMBASE, published before December 2010. Results We included 222 articles comprising ∼92 000 light drinkers and 60 000 non-drinkers with cancer. Light drinking was associated with the risk of oropharyngeal cancer [relative risk, RR = 1.17; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.06-1.29], esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) (RR = 1.30; 95% CI 1.09-1.56) and female breast cancer (RR = 1.05; 95% CI 1.02-1.08). We estimated that ∼5000 deaths from oropharyngeal cancer, 24 000 from esophageal SCC and 5000 from breast cancer were attributable to light drinking in 2004 worldwide. No association was found for colorectum, liver and larynx tumors. Conclusions Light drinking increases the risk of cancer of oral cavity and pharynx, esophagus and female breast.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cancer, Breast cancer, Squamous cell carcinoma, Squamous epithelium, Esophagus, Esophageal cancer, Barrett's esophagus

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Also available: Consumer Reports Patient Resource on High-Value Care for GERD BACKGROUND: Upper endoscopy is commonly used in the diagnosis and management of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Evidence demonstrates that it is indicated only in certain situations, and inappropriate use generates unnecessary costs and exposes patients to harms without improving outcomes. METHODS: The Clinical Guidelines Committee of the American College of Physicians reviewed evidence regarding the indications for, and yield of, upper endoscopy in the setting of GERD, and to highlight how clinicians can increase the delivery of high-value health care. BEST PRACTICE ADVICE 1: Upper endoscopy is indicated in men and women with heartburn and alarm symptoms (dysphagia, bleeding, anemia, weight loss, and recurrent vomiting). BEST PRACTICE ADVICE 2: Upper endoscopy is indicated in men and women with:      Typical GERD symptoms that persist despite a therapeutic trial of 4 to 8 weeks of twice-daily proton-pump inhibitor therapy.      Severe erosive esophagitis after a 2-month course of proton-pump inhibitor therapy to assess healing and rule out Barrett esophagus. Recurrent endoscopy after this follow-up examination is not indicated in the absence of Barrett esophagus.      History of esophageal stricture who have recurrent symptoms of dysphagia. BEST PRACTICE ADVICE 3: Upper endoscopy may be indicated:      In men older than 50 years with chronic GERD symptoms (symptoms for more than 5 years) and additional risk factors (nocturnal reflux symptoms, hiatal hernia, elevated body mass index, tobacco use, and intra-abdominal distribution of fat) to detect esophageal adenocarcinoma and Barrett esophagus.      For surveillance evaluation in men and women with a history of Barrett esophagus. In men and women with Barrett esophagus and no dysplasia, surveillance examinations should occur at intervals no more frequently than 3 to 5 years. More frequent intervals are indicated in patients with Barrett esophagus and dysplasia.

Concepts: Obesity, Gastroenterology, Gastroesophageal reflux disease, Esophagogastroduodenoscopy, Achalasia, Esophageal cancer, Barrett's esophagus, Esophageal stricture

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Cancer is considered an outcome of decades-long clonal evolution fueled by acquisition of somatic genomic abnormalities (SGAs). Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been shown to reduce cancer risk, including risk of progression from Barrett’s esophagus (BE) to esophageal adenocarcinoma (EA). However, the cancer chemopreventive mechanisms of NSAIDs are not fully understood. We hypothesized that NSAIDs modulate clonal evolution by reducing SGA acquisition rate. We evaluated thirteen individuals with BE. Eleven had not used NSAIDs for 6.2±3.5 (mean±standard deviation) years and then began using NSAIDs for 5.6±2.7 years, whereas two had used NSAIDs for 3.3±1.4 years and then discontinued use for 7.9±0.7 years. 161 BE biopsies, collected at 5-8 time points over 6.4-19 years, were analyzed using 1Million-SNP arrays to detect SGAs. Even in the earliest biopsies there were many SGAs (284±246 in 10/13 and 1442±560 in 3/13 individuals) and in most individuals the number of SGAs changed little over time, with both increases and decreases in SGAs detected. The estimated SGA rate was 7.8 per genome per year (95% support interval [SI], 7.1-8.6) off-NSAIDs and 0.6 (95% SI 0.3-1.5) on-NSAIDs. Twelve individuals did not progress to EA. In ten we detected 279±86 SGAs affecting 53±30 Mb of the genome per biopsy per time point and in two we detected 1,463±375 SGAs affecting 180±100 Mb. In one individual who progressed to EA we detected a clone having 2,291±78 SGAs affecting 588±18 Mb of the genome at three time points in the last three of 11.4 years of follow-up. NSAIDs were associated with reduced rate of acquisition of SGAs in eleven of thirteen individuals. Barrett’s cells maintained relative equilibrium level of SGAs over time with occasional punctuations by expansion of clones having massive amount of SGAs.

Concepts: Biopsy, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, Anti-inflammatory, Paracetamol, Gastroesophageal reflux disease, Esophageal cancer, Barrett's esophagus, Clone

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Patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) often seek alternative therapy for inadequate symptom control, with over 40 % not responding to medical treatment. We evaluated the long-term safety, efficacy, and durability of response to radiofrequency treatment of the lower esophageal sphincter (Stretta).

Concepts: Medicine, Obesity, Gastroesophageal reflux disease, Esophagus, Cardia, Esophageal cancer, Barrett's esophagus, Stretta procedure

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The incidence of Barrett’s esophagus (BE)-associated esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) is increasing. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) provides an unprecedented opportunity to uncover genomic alterations during BE pathogenesis and progression to EAC, but treatment-naive surgical specimens are scarce. The objective of this study was to establish the feasibility of using widely available endoscopic mucosal biopsies for successful NGS, using samples obtained from a BE ‘progressor’. Paired-end whole-genome NGS was performed on the Illumina platform using libraries generated from mucosal biopsies of normal squamous epithelium (NSE), BE and EAC obtained from a patient who progressed to adenocarcinoma during endoscopic surveillance. Selective validation studies, including Sanger sequencing, immunohistochemistry and functional assays, were performed to confirm the NGS findings. NGS identified somatic nonsense mutations of AT-rich interactive domain 1A (SWI like) (ARID1A) and PPIE and an additional 37 missense mutations in BE and/or EAC, which were confirmed by Sanger sequencing. ARID1A mutations were detected in 15% (3/20) high-grade dysplasia (HGD)/EAC patients. Immunohistochemistry performed on an independent archival cohort demonstrated ARID1A protein loss in 0% (0/76), 4.9% (2/40), 14.3% (4/28), 16.0% (8/50) and 12.2% (12/98) of NSE, BE, low-grade dysplasia, HGD and EAC tissues, respectively, and was inversely associated with nuclear p53 accumulation (P=0.028). Enhanced cell growth, proliferation and invasion were observed on ARID1A knockdown in EAC cells. In addition, genes downstream of ARID1A that potentially contribute to the ARID1A knockdown phenotype were identified. Our studies establish the feasibility of using mucosal biopsies for NGS, which should enable the comparative analysis of larger ‘progressor’ versus ‘non-progressor’ cohorts. Further, we identify ARID1A as a novel tumor-suppressor gene in BE pathogenesis, reiterating the importance of aberrant chromatin in the metaplasia-dysplasia sequence.Oncogene advance online publication, 14 January 2013; doi:10.1038/onc.2012.586.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Cancer, Mutation, Point mutation, Nonsense mutation, Esophageal cancer, Barrett's esophagus

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To evaluate the effect of larynx and esophageal inlet sparing on dysphagia recovery after intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) for stage III-IV oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma.

Concepts: Cancer, Radiation therapy, Feeding tube, Squamous cell carcinoma, Squamous epithelium, Caesium, Head and neck cancer, Barrett's esophagus

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Three disease phenotypes, Barrett’s esophagus (BE), high-grade dysplasia (HGD), esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC), and a set of normal control (NC) serum samples are examined using a combination of ion mobility spectrometry (IMS), mass spectrometry (MS), and principal component analysis (PCA) techniques. Samples from a total of 136 individuals were examined, including 7 characterized as BE, 12 as HGD, 56 as EAC, and 61 as NC. In typical data sets, it was possible to assign ∼20 to 30 glycan ions based on MS measurements. Ion mobility distributions for these ions show multiple features. In some cases, such as the [S(1)H(5)N(4) + 3Na](3+) and [S(1)F(1)H(5)N(4) + 3Na](3+) glycan ions, the ratio of intensities of high-mobility features to low-mobility features vary significantly for different groups. The degree to which such variations in mobility profiles can be used to distinguish phenotypes is evaluated for 11 N-linked glycan ions. An outlier analysis on each sample class followed by an unsupervised PCA using a genetic algorithm for pattern recognition reveals that EAC samples are separated from NC samples based on 46 features originating from the 11-glycan composite IMS distribution.

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, Ratio, Principal component analysis, Gastroesophageal reflux disease, Esophageal cancer, Barrett's esophagus, Ion mobility spectrometry, Ion mobility spectrometry-mass spectrometry

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In several organ systems, the transitional zone between different types of epithelium is a hotspot for pre-neoplastic metaplasia and malignancy, but the cells of origin for these metaplastic epithelia and subsequent malignancies remain unknown. In the case of Barrett’s oesophagus, intestinal metaplasia occurs at the gastro-oesophageal junction, where stratified squamous epithelium transitions into simple columnar cells. On the basis of a number of experimental models, several alternative cell types have been proposed as the source of this metaplasia but in all cases the evidence is inconclusive: no model completely mimics Barrett’s oesophagus in terms of the presence of intestinal goblet cells. Here we describe a transitional columnar epithelium with distinct basal progenitor cells (p63(+)KRT5(+)KRT7(+)) at the squamous-columnar junction of the upper gastrointestinal tract in a mouse model. We use multiple models and lineage tracing strategies to show that this squamous-columnar junction basal cell population serves as a source of progenitors for the transitional epithelium. On ectopic expression of CDX2, these transitional basal progenitors differentiate into intestinal-like epithelium (including goblet cells) and thereby reproduce Barrett’s metaplasia. A similar transitional columnar epithelium is present at the transitional zones of other mouse tissues (including the anorectal junction) as well as in the gastro-oesophageal junction in the human gut. Acid reflux-induced oesophagitis and the multilayered epithelium (believed to be a precursor of Barrett’s oesophagus) are both characterized by the expansion of the transitional basal progenitor cells. Our findings reveal a previously unidentified transitional zone in the epithelium of the upper gastrointestinal tract and provide evidence that the p63(+)KRT5(+)KRT7(+) basal cells in this zone are the cells of origin for multi-layered epithelium and Barrett’s oesophagus.

Concepts: Digestive system, Epithelium, Gastroenterology, Stomach, Squamous epithelium, Epithelial cells, Goblet cell, Barrett's esophagus

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Background/Aims: The study examines the relationship between activity of acid DNase and 5'nucleotidase (5'NT) and histological changes in reflux esophagitis. Methodology: Thirty-three patients were examined, 15 of whom with mild esophagitis, 12 with severe esophagitis and 6 with Barrett’s epithelium. Patients were classified into 3 groups, according to Ismail-Beigi histological criteria: mild esophagitis group (ME); severe esophagitis group (SE); Barrett’s esophagitis group (BE). DNase and 5'NT levels were measured biochemically both in healthy and injured tissue samples. Results: Difference of acid DNase and 5'NT activity in healthy tissue versus injured tissue samples was the lowest in ME group: 0.55±4.47 U/g for acid DNase and 11.56±37.11 U/g for 5'NT, the difference increased to 4.43±1.64 U/g for acid DNase and 105.57±54.11 U/g for 5'NT in the SE group, while 6.07±2.92 U/g for acid DNase and 109.83±14.02 U/g for 5'NT as the highest levels were measured in the BE group. Difference in BE group is statistically significantly higher (p <0.05) compared to the ME group, confirmed by ANOVA with Dunnett's post hoc test. Conclusions: The study shows significant decrease of apotosis level that is detectable even before metaplasia was morphologically defined.

Concepts: Mathematics, Histology, Histopathology, Gastroenterology, Gastroesophageal reflux disease, Barrett's esophagus, Metaplasia, Esophagitis