Idiopathic achalasia and Barrett's esophagus (BE) are preneoplastic conditions of the esophagus. BE increases the risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC), while achalasia is associated with both EAC and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). However, while the molecular mechanisms underlying the transformation of esophageal epithelial cells in BE are relatively well characterized, less is known regarding these processes in achalasia. Nevertheless, both conditions are associated with chronic inflammation and BE can occur in achalasia patients, and it is likely that similar processes underlie cancer risk in both diseases. The present review will discuss possible lessons that we can learn from the molecular analysis of BE for the study of achalasia-associated cancer and contrast findings in BE with those in achalasia. First, we will describe cellular fate during development of BE, EAC, and ESCC, and consider the inflammatory status of the epithelial barrier in BE and achalasia in terms of its contribution to carcinogenesis. Next, we will summarize current data on genetic alterations and molecular pathways involved in these processes. Lastly, the plausible role of the microbiota in achalasia-associated carcinogenesis and its contribution to abnormal lower esophageal sphincter (LES) functioning, the maintenance of chronic inflammatory status and influence on the esophageal mucosa through carcinogenic by-products, will be discussed.,
BBA - Reviews on Cancer
Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Nesteruk, K., Spaander, M., Leeuwenburgh, I., Peppelenbosch, M., & Fuhler, G. (2019). Achalasia and associated esophageal cancer risk: What lessons can we learn from the molecular analysis of Barrett's–associated adenocarcinoma?. BBA - Reviews on Cancer, article in press. doi:10.1016/j.bbcan.2019.04.007