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Barrett's esophagus is a preneoplastic condition that results in the transformation of benign squamous epithelium of the esophagus into specialized glandular intestinal mucosa. Patients with Barrett's esophagus are at a significantly increased risk for developing esophageal adenocarcinoma and, therefore, require close monitoring. Guidelines recommend periodic endoscopic examination of the esophagus with 4-quadrant biopsies taken every 1 cm to 2 cm of affected esophagus. Currently, histology results are considered the gold standard for diagnosing esophageal dysplasia and adenocarcinoma. However, there are many limitations of biopsy including limited sampling of the affected area, lengthy procedure time for biopsy collection, poor interobserver reproducibility of pathologists to diagnose dysplasia or adenocarcinoma, and an inability of histologic findings to predict patient progression from Barrett's esophagus to esophageal adenocarcinoma.(1)
FISH, a technique that utilizes fluorescently labeled DNA probes to examine cells for chromosomal alterations, can be used to detect cells with chromosomal changes (eg, polysomy) that are indicative of neoplasia (dysplasia or adenocarcinoma). Studies indicate that a multicolor, multitarget FISH assay that utilizes probes to 8q24 (MYC), 9p21 (CDKN2A), 17q12 (ERBB2; alias HER-2), and 20q13.2 (ZNF217), is able to detect dysplasia and adenocarcinoma in endoscopic esophageal brushing specimens collected from patients with Barrett's esophagus.(1,2)
Aid to identifying dysplasia and adenocarcinoma in patients with Barrett's esophagus
An interpretive report is provided based on the combination of routine cytology and FISH results.
Negative FISH results do not rule out the presence of dysplasia or adenocarcinoma.
While polysomic FISH results are suggestive of high-grade dysplasia or adenocarcinoma, biopsy confirmation should be obtained before therapeutic interventions are instituted. Patients with a positive FISH result but negative biopsy should be followed closely.
This test cannot distinguish high-grade dysplasia from adenocarcinoma; both have been shown to exhibit the same type of FISH abnormalities.
An interpretive report will be provided.
1. Brankley SM, Wang KK, Harwood AR, et al: The development of a fluorescence in situ hybridization assay for the detection of dysplasia and adenocarcinoma in Barrett's esophagus. J Mol Diagn 2006 May;8(2):260-267
2. Rygiel AM, Milano F, Ten Kate FJ, et al: Gains and amplifications of c-myc, EGFR, and 20q13 loci in the no dysplasia-dysplasia-adenocarcinoma sequence of Barrett's esophagus. Cancer Epidermiol Biomarkers Prev 2008;17:1380-1385
3. Barr Fritcher EG, Brankley SM, Kipp BR, et al: A comparison of conventional cytology, DNA ploidy analysis, and fluorescence in situ hybridization for the detection of dysplasia and adenocarcinoma in patients with Barrett's esophagus. Hum Pathol 2008;39:1128-1135