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Summary

Background

There is little evidence that treatment of patients with Barrett's oesophagus with proton pump inhibitors over periods up to 6 years results in major regression of Barrett's oesophagus.

Aim

To determine if longer periods of treatment with proton pump inhibitors lead to significant regression of Barrett's oesophagus, and to determine the incidence of oesophageal adenocarcinoma in the proton pump inhibitor-treated patients.

Methods

We analysed prospectively-collected data on Barrett's oesophagus patients treated with proton pump inhibitors for 1–13 years.

Results

188 patients with Barrett's oesophagus and intestinal metaplasia, were treated for 1–13 years with a proton pump inhibitor (966 years of treatment; mean 5.1 years). No change in length was seen during treatment but 48% of patients developed squamous islands (25% after 1–3 years; 100% at 12–13 years). Squamous islands correlated with treatment duration and male sex but not with proton pump inhibitor dose or patient age. Six patients developed dysplasia and three males developed adenocarcinoma during treatment (cancer incidence 0.31%).

Conclusions

Proton-pump inhibitor treatment over 1–13 years does not shorten the Barrett's oesophagus segment but squamous islands appear in many patients. The incidence of oesophageal adenocarcinoma was low in these proton pump inhibitor-treated patients compared with published series.