Barrett’s esophagus (BE) is a very common condition. We have obtained fairly profound knowledge of the natural history of this condition. This results from many cross-sectional and cohort studies, many describing patients undergoing long-term surveillance. Their consent to use their clinical data has improved our knowledge to the benefit of these same and other patients. The prevalence of BE increases with age both in men and in women. This increase starts at a younger age in men than in women. The incidence of high-grade dysplasia and cancer in BE depends on segment length, gender, and age. The latter two likely indicate the duration of the presence of BE in an individual patient. Other factors that influence the incidence of dysplasia and cancer are smoking behavior and use of certain medications such as PPIs, statins, and NSAIDs. Surveillance of BE and treatment of dysplasia can impact the incidence of and mortality due to esophageal adenocarcinoma. This is of major benefit to a subgroup of BE patients. The epidemiology and burden of disease ask for further efforts to develop targeted screening, surveillance, and intervention techniques in coming years.

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Digestive Diseases and Sciences
Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Kuipers, E., & Spaander, M. (2018). Natural History of Barrett’s Esophagus. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 1–8. doi:10.1007/s10620-018-5161-x