BACKGROUND & AIMS: Radiofrequency ablation (RFA), with or without endoscopic resection effectively eradicates Barrett's esophagus (BE) containing high-grade intraepithelial neoplasia and/or early-stage cancer. We followed patients who received RFA for BE containing high-grade intraepithelial neoplasia and/or early-stage cancer for 5 years to determine the durability of treatment response.
METHODS: We followed 54 patients with BE (2-12 cm), previously enrolled in 4 consecutive cohort studies in which they underwent focal endoscopic resection in case of visible lesions (n = 40 [72%]), followed by serial RFA every 3 months. Patients underwent high-resolution endoscopy with narrow-band imaging at 6 and 12 months after treatment and then annually for 5 years (median, 61 months; interquartile range, 53-65 months); random biopsy samples were collected from neosquamous epithelium and gastric cardia. After 5 years, endoscopic ultrasound and endoscopic resection of neosquamous epithelium were performed. Outcomes included sustained complete remission of neoplasia or intestinal metaplasia (IM), IM in gastric cardia, or buried glands in neosquamous epithelium.
RESULTS: After 5 years, Kaplan-Meier analysis showed sustained complete remission of neoplasia and intestinal metaplasia in 90% of patients; neoplasia recurred in 3 patients and was managed endoscopically. Focal IM in the cardia was found in 19 of 54 patients (35%), in 53 of 1143 gastric cardia biopsies (4.6%). The incidence of IM of the cardia did not increase over time; and IM was diagnosed based on only a single biopsy in 89% of patients. Buried glands were detected in 3 of 3543 neosquamous epithelium biopsies (0.08%, from 3 patients). No endoscopic resection samples had buried glands.
CONCLUSIONS: Among patients who have undergone RFA with or without endoscopic resection for neoplastic BE, 90% remain in remission at 5-year follow-up, with all recurrences managed endoscopically. This treatment approach is therefore an effective and durable alternative to esophagectomy; www.trialregister.nl number, NTR2938.