The molecular signature of normal squamous esophageal epithelium identifies the presence of a field effect and can discriminate between patients with Barrett's esophagus and patients with Barrett's-associated adenocarcinoma.

Genetic alterations in the normal tissues surrounding various cancers have been described, but a comprehensive analysis of this carcinogenic field effect in Barrett's-associated adenocarcinoma of the esophagus disease has not been reported. The aim of this study was to analyze the gene expression profile of a panel of highly selected genes in the normal squamous esophagus epihelium of patients with Barrett's esophagus, patients with Barrett's-associated adenocarcinoma, and a healthy control group to define the existence of a carcinogenic field effect, and to investigate the clinical importance of such a field effect in the management of Barrett's disease.

Forty-nine histologic normal squamous esophageal epithelia collected from 19 patients with Barrett's esophagus, 20 patients with Barrett's-associated esophageal adenocarcinoma, and a healthy control group of 10 patients were studied. A quantitative real-time reverse transcription-PCR method (TaqMan) was used to measure the expression of a panel of genes with known associations with gastrointestinal carcinogenesis.

A widespread carcinogenic field effect was detected for more than 50% of the genes analyzed including Bax, BFT, CDX2, COX2, DAPK, DNMT1, GSTP1, RARalpha, RARgamma, RXRalpha, RXRbeta, SPARC, TSPAN, and VEGF. Based on the expression signature of the normal appearing squamous esophagus, a linear discriminant analysis was able to distinguish between the three groups of patients with an error rate of 0%.

This study provides the first comprehensive investigation of a carcinogenic field effect in Barrett's esophagus disease. Based on the gene expression signature of the normal esophagus, patients could be correctly characterized according to their pathologic classification by applying a linear discriminant analysis. Our results provide evidence that a molecular classification might have clinical importance for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with Barrett's esophagus disease.

Baldus SE, Brabender J, Danenberg KD, Danenberg PV, Hölscher AH, Lord RV, Marjoram P, Meltzer SJ, Metzger R, Salonga D, Schneider PM, Schäfer H, Selaru FM, Vallböhmer D


Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev., 2005, 14 (9)

Version 5.1.0