Medical treatment of Barrett's esophagus: can it prevent cancer?
ABSTRACT The challenge of the title of this article is attention getting. How can medical therapy prevent cancer if anti-reflux surgery cannot prevent the neoplastic progression of Barrett's esophagus? Can anything short of esophagectomy prevent cancer? In the face of the increasing incidence of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus into the twenty-first century, the medical therapy of Barrett's esophagus and its potential role in preventing cancer are explored.
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ABSTRACT: Proton pump inhibitors (PPI) may potentially modify and decrease the risk for development of oesophageal adenocarcinoma in Barrett's oesophagus (BO). To investigate if the intensity and adherence of PPI use among all patients with BO in Denmark affected the risk of oesophageal adenocarcinoma. We performed a nationwide case-control study in Denmark among 9883 patients with a new diagnosis of BO. All incident oesophageal adenocarcinomas and high-grade dysplasias were identified, and risk ratios were estimated on the basis of prior use of PPIs. Sex- and age-matched BO patients without dysplasia or malignancies in a 10:1 ratio were used for comparison. Conditional logistic regression was used for analysis, adjusting for low-grade dysplasia, gender and medication. We identified 140 cases with incident oesophageal adenocarcinomas and/or high-grade dysplasia, with a median follow-up time of 10.2 years. The relative risk of oesophageal adenocarcinoma or high-grade dysplasia was 2.2 (0.7-6.7) and 3.4 (95% CI: 1.1-10.5) in long-term low- and high-adherence PPI users respectively. No cancer-protective effects from PPI's were seen. In fact, high-adherence and long-term use of PPI were associated with a significantly increased risk of adenocarcinoma or high-grade dysplasia. This could partly be due to confounding by indication or a true negative effect from PPIs. Until the results from future studies hopefully can elucidate the association further, continuous PPI therapy should be directed at symptom control and additional modalities considered as aid or replacement.Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 03/2014; 39(9). DOI:10.1111/apt.12693 · 4.55 Impact Factor