Risk of Colorectal Cancer in Patients With Barrett's Esophagus: A Dutch Population-Based Study
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OBJECTIVES:The association between Barrett's esophagus (BE) and colorectal cancer (CRC) is controversial. Population-based studies on the risk of CRC in BE are scarce. The aim of this study was to determine the risk of CRC in a nationwide cohort of patients with BE in the Netherlands with long-term follow-up.METHODS:Patients diagnosed with BE between 1991 and 2006 were identified in the Dutch nationwide histopathology registry (Pathologisch Anatomisch Landelijk Geautomatiseerd Archief (PALGA)). The incidence of CRC observed in these patients was compared with that in the general Dutch population aged >40 years. Relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were calculated using a Poisson model.RESULTS:A total of 42,207 patients with a first diagnosis of BE were included in this study. During a mean follow-up of 5.6 years (s.d. 4), 713 patients (1.7%) were diagnosed with CRC (overall rate: 3.4/1,000 person-years at risk), at a mean age of 73.7 years (s.d. 10). All CRCs occurred in BE patients aged >40 years, and the majority (96%) in those over 50 years of age. Of those CRCs, 317 (44%) were detected within the first year after initial BE diagnosis, and 396 (54%) thereafter. For all patients with BE, CRC risk was 1.70 (95% CI: 1.58-1.83), as compared with the general Dutch population aged >40 years. However, CRC risk within the first year of follow-up after BE diagnosis (RR: 4.76 (95% CI: 4.26-5.31)) was significantly higher than within 1-5 years of follow-up (RR: 0.99 (95% CI: 0.86-1.14)) or more than 5 years of follow-up (RR: 1.28 (95% CI: 1.11-1.47)) (P<0.001).CONCLUSIONS:This population-based study shows an overall increased risk of CRC in patients with BE as compared with the general Dutch population, which can for the greater part be explained by diagnostic bias. The magnitude of the association between BE and CRC does not merit a more extensive CRC screening strategy in BE patients than has currently been recommended for the general population.Am J Gastroenterol advance online publication, 1 September 2009; doi:10.1038/ajg.2009.503.