Barrett's epithelium is a recognized premalignant condition for esophageal adenocarcinoma. Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) decrease the relative risk of colon cancer in humans and the esophageal tumor load in carcinogen-treated mice. Previous studies provided conflicting results for COX-2 activity in Barrett's mucosa. Pinch mucosal biopsies were collected from Barrett's and adjacent normal esophageal mucosa from 17 patients with Barrett's esophagus. Low-grade dysplasia was found in seven patients. COX-2 protein was undetectable in normal esophageal mucosa. COX-1 protein expression did not vary between normal and Barrett's epithelium. Increased COX-2 protein was detected in Barrett's epithelium in seven patients (41%) but did not differ with or without dysplasia (43% vs 40%). In conclusion, COX-2 protein is increased in 41% of patients with Barrett's epithelium compared to normal esophageal mucosa but did not differ with or without dysplasia. COX-2 induction may be an early event in the development of Barrett's esophagus.
- Barrett's esophagus
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