Squamous cell carcinoma in Barrett's esophagus: Field effect versus metastasis

M. M. Streppel, P. D. Siersema, W. W. de Leng, F. H. Morsink, F. P. Vleggaar, A. Maitra, E. A. Montgomery, G. J. Offerhaus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Barrett's esophagus (BE) is a premalignant condition with an increased risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). Risk factors for EAC overlap with those for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), but ESCC is surprisingly rare in BE. We report two cases of ESCC directly surrounded by BE. Both patients had a previous medical history of cancers, i.e., head and neck squamous cell carcinomas, and were using alcohol and smoking tobacco. Using immunohistochemistry for p63, CK5, CK7, and CDX2, it was confirmed that these carcinomas were pure squamous cell carcinomas, and not EACs or esophageal adenosquamous carcinomas arising from BE. Using TP53 mutation and loss of heterozygosity analysis, we established that the ESCCs in BE were not metastases of the previously diagnosed head and neck squamous cell carcinomas but de novo primary ESCCs. This study shows the strength of molecular analysis as an adjunct to the histopathologic diagnosis for distinguishing between metastases of prior cancers and primary cancers. Furthermore, these cases imply that presence of BE is not protective with regards to developing ESCC in the lower one third of the esophagus. We suggest that their ESCCs arose from islets of squamous epithelium in BE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)630-637
Number of pages8
JournalDiseases of the Esophagus
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Barrett's esophagus
  • Squamous cell carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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