This article has a correction

Please see: J Med Genet 2004;41:46

J Med Genet 40:651-656 doi:10.1136/jmg.40.9.651
  • Original article

Demographic and phenotypic features of 70 families segregating Barrett’s oesophagus and oesophageal adenocarcinoma

  1. C M Drovdlic1,
  2. K A B Goddard4,
  3. A Chak3,
  4. W Brock3,
  5. L Chessler5,
  6. J F King5,
  7. J Richter6,
  8. G W Falk6,
  9. D K Johnston7,
  10. J L Fisher2,
  11. W M Grady7,
  12. S Lemeshow2,
  13. C Eng1,8
  1. 1Clinical Cancer Genetics Program, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA; James Cancer Hospital, Columbus, OH, USA; Solove Research Institute and Comprehensive Cancer Center; Division of Human Genetics, Department of Internal Medicine
  2. 2Center for Biostatistics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
  3. 3Division of Gastroenterology, University Hospitals of Cleveland, Cleveland, OH, USA
  4. 4Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH, USA
  5. 5Department of Gastroenterology, Mercy Medical Center, Canton, OH, USA
  6. 6Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH, USA
  7. 7Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA
  8. 8Cancer Research UK Human Cancer Genetics Research Group, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Ms Carrie Melvin Drovdlic Clinical Cancer Genetics Program, The Ohio State University, 410 W 10th Avenue 303E Doan, Columbus, OH 43210, USA;
  • Accepted 20 May 2003
  • Revised 2 May 2003


Background: Barrett’s oesophagus (BO) also termed metaplastic columnar lined oesophageal epithelium, is believed to result from a continual reparative response to chronic reflux of gastric contents. Although traditionally considered to be an acquired disorder, with several epidemiological risk factors involved, it is now recognised that there is a genetic component, and that this is likely to be autosomal dominant. Clustering of BO and of oesophageal adenocarcinoma (OAC) or oesophagogastric junctional adenocarcinoma (OGJAC) has been shown in a number of studies.

Methods: We investigated a large series of BO/OAC families to find evidence that a subset of BO/OAC is the result of a hereditary predisposition, and explored the potential of performing a linkage study with the families identified to date.

Results: Of 957 individuals in 70 families, 173 had a reported diagnosis of BO or OAC/OGJAC: 101 had BO only, 52 had OAC/OGJAC, and 20 had both BO and OAC/OGJAC. There were 133 affected males and 40 affected females, a male:female ratio of 3.3:1. In addition, 124 participants (12.9%) had a reported diagnosis of cancer other than OAC. Of these, 15 did (affected) and 109 did not (unaffected) have a diagnosis of BO or OAC. A cancer other than OAC was found in 13.9% of unaffected and 8.7% of affected individuals.

Conclusion: It is widely accepted that the majority of BO and OAC are sporadic, although familial clustering of BO and OAC has been recognised for at least three decades. Environment and lifestyle undoubtedly play a role in development of BO and OAC, and may affect the penetrance of the putative inherited factor. Although our 70 BO probands were not more likely to develop non-OAC/OGJAC cancers than normal, over a third had developed either OAC or OGJAC, and might have gone on to develop others. We intend to continue recruitment and initiate formal linkage studies to identify the causative gene(s).