New Strategies in Barrett's Esophagus: Integrating Clonal Evolutionary Theory with Clinical Management

Divisions of Human Biology and Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Ave., P.O. Box 19024, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.
Clinical Cancer Research (Impact Factor: 8.19). 06/2011; 17(11):3512-9. DOI: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-2358
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Barrett's esophagus is a condition in which the normal stratified squamous epithelium of the distal esophagus is replaced by intestinal metaplasia. For more than three decades, the prevailing clinical paradigm has been that Barrett's esophagus is a complication of symptomatic reflux disease that predisposes to esophageal adenocarcinoma. However, no clinical strategy for cancer prevention or early detection based on this paradigm has been proven to reduce esophageal adenocarcinoma mortality in a randomized clinical trial in part because only about 5% to 10% of individuals with Barrett's esophagus develop esophageal adenocarcinoma. Recent research indicates that Barrett's metaplasia is an adaptation for mucosal defense in response to chronic reflux in most individuals. The risk of progressing to esophageal adenocarcinoma is determined by development of genomic instability and dynamic clonal evolution in the distal esophagus modulated by host and environmental risk and protective factors, including inherited genotype. The challenge for investigators of Barrett's esophagus lies in integrating knowledge about genomic instability and clonal evolution into clinical management to increase the lifespan and quality of life of individuals with this condition.


Available from: Carlo Maley, Mar 24, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Progression of Barrett's esophagus (BE) to esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) is associated with accumulated genomic instability. Current risk stratification of BE for EAC relies on histological classification and grade of dysplasia. However, histology alone cannot assess the risk of patients with inconsistent or non-dysplastic BE histology. We, therefore, examined the presence and extent of genomic instability in advanced and less advanced BE histology using mutational load (ML). ML summarized the presence and clonality of loss of heterozygosity (LOH) mutations and the emergence of new alleles, manifested as microsatellite instability (MSI) mutations, in ten genomic loci around tumor suppressor genes associated with EAC. The ML of 877 microdissected targets from BE biopsies was correlated to their histology. Histological targets were categorized into three levels: no ML, low ML, and high ML. Increasing ML correlated with increasingly severe histology. By contrast, proportions of targets that lacked mutations decreased with increasingly severe histology. A portion of targets with non-dysplastic and low-grade histology shared a similar ML as those with higher risk and EAC disease. The addition of MSI characterization to ML helped to differentiate the ML between advanced and less advanced histology. Given that EAC is associated with accumulated genomic instability, high ML in less severe histology may identify BE disease at greater risk of progression to EAC. ML may help to better manage BE in early histological stages and when histology alone provides insufficient information.
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    ABSTRACT: Background Recent advances in the management of Barrett’s Esophagus (BE) have placed greater emphasis on accurate diagnosis of BE as well as better prediction of risk for progression to esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). Histological evaluation of BE is particularly challenging with significant inter-observer variability. We explored the presence and extent of genomic instability in BE biopsy specimens as a means to add supplementary information to the histological classification and clinical decision-making related to early disease. Methods We reviewed histology slides from 271 patients known to have BE. Using histological features as a guide, we microdissected target cell populations with various histological classifications of BE (intestinal metaplasia, “indefinite for dysplasia”, low grade dysplasia, or high grade dysplasia). DNA was extracted from microdissected targets and analyzed for loss of heterozygosity (LOH) using a panel of 16 LOH mutational markers associated with tumor suppressor genes at chromosomal loci 1p, 3p, 5q, 9p, 10q, 17p, 17q, 18q, 21q, 22q. The presence or absence of mutations and the clonality of each mutation were determined for each marker. Results The presence and clonal expansion of LOH mutations was formulated into mutational load (ML) for each microdissected target analyzed. ML correlated with the histological classification of microdissected targets, with increasingly severe histology having higher ML. Three levels of mutation load (no ML, low ML, and high ML) were defined based on the population of microdissected targets histologically classified as intestinal metaplasia. All microdissected targets with dysplasia had mutations, with a high ML consistently present in high grade dysplasia targets. Microdissected targets histologically classified as intestinal metaplasia or “indefinite for dysplasia” spanned a range of no, low, and high ML. Conclusions The results of this study reinforce the association of genomic instability with disease progression in BE. The presence and extent (clonality) of genomic instability, as assessed by mutational load, may assist histology in defining early stages of BE that are potentially at greater risk for disease progression. Assessment of mutational load using our panel of LOH mutational markers may be a useful adjunct to microscopic inspection of biopsy specimens, and thereby, improve patient management.
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