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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 643084, 14 pages
Review Article

GERD—Barrett—Adenocarcinoma: Do We Have Suitable Prognostic and Predictive Molecular Markers?

1Institute of Pathology, Paracelsus Medical University/Salzburger Landeskliniken (SALK), Muellner HauptstraBe 48, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
2Department of Internal Medicine I, Paracelsus Medical University/Salzburger Landeskliniken (SALK), Muellner HauptstraBe 48, 5020 Salzburg, Austria

Received 21 January 2013; Accepted 18 February 2013

Academic Editor: P. Marco Fisichella

Copyright © 2013 Romana Illig et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Due to unfavorable lifestyle habits (unhealthy diet and tobacco abuse) the incidence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in western countries is increasing. The GERD-Barrett-Adenocarcinoma sequence currently lacks well-defined diagnostic, progressive, predictive, and prognostic biomarkers (i) providing an appropriate screening method identifying the presence of the disease, (ii) estimating the risk of evolving cancer, that is, the progression from Barrett’s esophagus (BE) to esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC), (iii) predicting the response to therapy, and (iv) indicating an overall survival—prognosis for EAC patients. Based on histomorphological findings, detailed screening and therapeutic guidelines have been elaborated, although epidemiological studies could not support the postulated increasing progression rates of GERD to BE and EAC. Additionally, proposed predictive and prognostic markers are rather heterogeneous by nature, lack substantial proofs, and currently do not allow stratification of GERD patients for progression, outcome, and therapeutic effectiveness in clinical practice. The aim of this paper is to discuss the current knowledge regarding the GERD-BE-EAC sequence mainly focusing on the disputable and ambiguous status of proposed biomarkers to identify promising and reliable markers in order to provide more detailed insights into pathophysiological mechanisms and thus to improve prognostic and predictive therapeutic approaches.