Barrett’s esophagus (BE) is a precursor of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). Therefore, an accurate diagnosis of BE is important for the subsequent follow-up and early detection of EAC. However, the definitions of BE have not been standardized worldwide; columnar-lined epithelium (CLE) without intestinal metaplasia (IM) and/or < 1 cm is not diagnosed as BE in most countries. This study aimed to clarify the malignant potential of CLE without IM and/or < 1 cm genetically.
A total of 96 consecutive patients (including nine patients with EAC) who had CLE were examined. Biopsies for CLE were conducted, and patients were divided into those with IM and > 1 cm (Group A) and those without IM and/or < 1 cm (Group B). Malignant potential was assessed using immunochemical staining for p53. Moreover, causative genes were examined using next-generation sequencing (NGS) on ten patients without Helicobacter pylori infection and without atrophic gastritis.
Of the 96 patients, 66 were in Group B. The proportion of carcinoma/dysplasia in Group A was significantly higher than that in Group B (26.7% in Group A and 1.5% in Group B; p < 0.01). However, one EAC patient was found in Group B. In the immunostaining study for non-EAC patients, an abnormal expression of p53 was not observed in Group A, whereas p53 loss was observed in three patients (4.6%) in Group B. In the NGS study, a TP53 mutation was found in Group B.
CLE without IM and/or < 1 cm has malignant potential. This result suggests that patients with CLE as well as BE need follow-up.