Unfortunately, many patients who develop adenocarcinoma don't know that they have Barrett's esophagus until it has transformed into cancer and become advanced, leading to obstruction," said principal investigator Blair A. Jobe, M.D., professor and director of esophageal research and esophageal diagnostics and therapeutic endoscopy, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Pitt School of Medicine.
"Our research indicates that even patients without severe symptoms may benefit from Barrett's esophagus screening," Dr. Jobe
"If GERD patients are screened early enough, there is a better chance that Barrett's esophagus can be identified before it becomes cancerous," he
"We are learning that the chronic and long-term use of PPIs may not be entirely without consequences and may lead to more insidious problems such as calcium malabsorption or cause one to be asymptomatic in the face of continued esophageal injury from GERD."
Dr. Jobe and his Pitt colleagues have established the Barrett's Esophagus Risk Consortium (BERC), in which primary care patients are being screened with in-office, small-caliber, unsedated endoscopy in an attempt to better understand risk factors for the condition as well as lower the threshold for screening.
The multicenter effort is funded by the National Institutes of Health