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Late Recurrence of Barrett’s Esophagus After Complete Eradication of Intestinal Metaplasia is Rare: Final Report From Ablation in Intestinal Metaplasia Containing Dysplasia Trial


Background & aims

The goal of treatment for Barrett's esophagus (BE) with dysplasia is complete eradication of intestinal metaplasia (CEIM). The long-term durability of CEIM has not been well characterized, so the frequency and duration of surveillance are unclear. We report results from a 5-year follow-up analysis of patients with BE and dysplasia treated by radiofrequency ablation (RFA) in the randomized controlled Ablation of Intestinal Metaplasia Containing Dysplasia (AIM) trial.


Participants for the AIM Dysplasia trial (18-80 years old) were recruited from 19 sites in the United States and had endoscopic evidence of non-nodular dysplastic BE ≤8 cm in length. Subjects (n = 127) were randomly assigned (2:1 ratio) to receive either RFA (entire BE segment ablated circumferentially) or a sham endoscopic procedure; patients in the sham group were offered RFA treatment 1 year later, and all patients were followed for 5 years. We collected data on BE recurrence (defined as intestinal metaplasia in the tubular esophagus) and dysplastic BE recurrence among patients who achieved CEIM. We constructed Kaplan-Meier estimates and applied parametric survival analysis to examine proportions of patients without any recurrence and without dysplastic recurrence.


Of 127 patients in the AIM Dysplasia trial, 119 received RFA and met inclusion criteria. Of those 119, 110 (92%) achieved CEIM. Over 401 person-years of follow-up (mean, 3.6 years per patient; range, 0.2-5.8 years), 35 of 110 (32%) patients had recurrence of BE or dysplasia, and 19 (17%) had dysplasia recurrence. The incidence rate of BE recurrence was 10.8 per 100 person-years overall (95% CI, 7.8-15.0); 8.3 per 100 person-years among patients with baseline low-grade dysplasia (95% CI, 4.9-14.0), and 13.5 per 100 person-years among patients with baseline high-grade dysplasia (95% CI 8.8-20.7). The incidence rate of dysplasia recurrence was 5.2 per 100 person-years overall (95% CI 3.3-8.2); 3.3 per 100 person-years among patients with baseline low-grade dysplasia (95% CI 1.5-7.2), and 7.3 per 100 person-years among patients with baseline high-grade dysplasia (95% CI 4.2-12.5). Neither BE nor dysplasia recurred at a constant rate. There was a greater probability of recurrence in the first year following CEIM than in the following 4 years combined.


In this analysis of prospective cohort data from the AIM Dysplasia trial, we found BE to recur after CEIM by RFA in almost one third of patients with baseline dysplastic disease; most recurrences occurred during the first year after CEIM. However, patients who achieved CEIM and remained BE free at 1 year after RFA had a low risk of BE recurrence. Studies are needed to determine when surveillance can be decreased or discontinued; our study did not identify any BE or dysplasia recurrence after 4 years of surveillance.

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