Women with BE progress about half as often as men

This meta-analysis reinforces previous observations that women with Barrett's progress to HGD or EAC at about half the rate as men.


It is known that Barrett’s esophagus (BE) and esophageal adenocarcinoma occur more commonly in men. What is unknown are the prevalence of BE and rates of neoplastic progression in women. Our aim was to determine the prevalence of Barrett’s and its progression to esophageal cancer in women through systematic review and meta-analysis. A comprehensive search was conducted using PubMed, Scopus, and Google Scholar. Studies were included that reported prevalence rates of BE or progression rates to neoplastic disease stratified by gender. Barrett’s was defined by updated criteria as salmon-colored mucosa =1 cm proximal to the gastroesophageal junction. Pooled rates and odds ratios (ORs) at 95% confidence interval (CI) of the prevalence of BE and its progression to neoplastic disease were calculated. Ten studies with 19,337 patients (50.6% women) reported on prevalence and six studies with 5137 patients (24.3% women) reported on neoplastic progression of disease between genders. The rate of BE in women was 1.29% ([95% CI: 0.76–2.19], I2 = 91%) compared to men at 4.66% ([95% CI: 3.31–6.53], I2 = 89%); OR: 0.33 ([95% CI: 0.27–0.42], I2 = 0%). The rate of annual progression of Barrett’s to high-grade dysplasia or adenocarcinoma was 0.62% ([95% CI: 0.22–1.75]) in women compared to 1.54% ([95% CI: 0.83–2.81], I2 = 96%) in men; OR: 0.44 ([95% CI: 0.30–0.65], I2 = 22%). This study demonstrates a 70% lower rate of prevalence and a 60% lower rate of neoplastic progression of Barrett’s in women. Future BE guidelines should tailor screening and surveillance practices by gender.

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