CDX-2 is a nuclear homeobox transcription factor not normally expressed in esophageal and gastric epithelia, reported to highlight intestinal metaplasia (IM) in the esophagus. Pathological absence of goblet cells at initial screening via hematoxylin and eosin (HE) and alcian blue (AB) staining results in patient exclusion from surveillance programs.
This study aimed to determine whether non-goblet cell IM, as defined by CDX-2 positivity, can be considered to be a precursor to Barrett’s esophagus (BE).
This study received IRB approval (17,284). Patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (n = 181) who underwent upper-gastrointestinal endoscopy with biopsies of the distal esophagus to rule out BE using HE/AB staining and CDX-2 immunostaining were followed for 3 years. Initial and follow-up staining results were evaluated for age/sex.
Differences between development of goblet cell IM in CDX-2-negative and CDX-2-positive groups were evaluated. A Kaplan–Meier curve showed that, out of the 134 patients initially positive for CDX-2, 25 (18.7%) had developed goblet cell IM after 2 years and 106 (79.1%) after 3 years. Conversely, of the 47 patients initially negative for CDX-2, 8 (17.9%) developed goblet cell IM after 24 months and only 11 (23.8%) after 40 to 45 months (P = .049; age-adjusted Cox proportional hazard regression model).
In cases that are initially AB negative and CDX-2 positive, CDX-2 was demonstrated to have a potential prognostic utility for early detection of progression to BE. CDX-2 expression is significantly predictive for risk of goblet cell IM development 40 to 45 months after initial biopsy.
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Gastroesophageal reflux disease
Hematoxylin and eosin
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We thank Paul Fletcher and Daley Drucker (H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institution) for editorial assistance. They were not compensated for their assistance beyond their regular salaries. This work has been supported in part by the Tissue Core Facility at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute: an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center (P30-CA076292).
This work has been supported in part by the Tissue Core Facility at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute: an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center (P30-CA076292).
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Saller, J., Al Diffalha, S., Neill, K. et al. CDX-2 Expression in Esophageal Biopsies Without Goblet Cell Intestinal Metaplasia May Be Predictive of Barrett’s Esophagus. Dig Dis Sci 65, 1992–1998 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10620-019-05914-x
- Barrett’s esophagus