Smoking Found to Be a Risk Factor for Barrett's Esophagus

Patients with Barrett's more likely to have ever smoked; risk up with increasing pack-years

WEDNESDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- Cigarette smoking may be a modifiable risk factor for Barrett's esophagus, according to a study published in the April issue of Gastroenterology.

To investigate the association between cigarette smoking and Barrett's esophagus, Michael B. Cook, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and associates analyzed data from five case-control studies within the international Barrett's and Esophageal Adenocarcinoma Consortium. Data were compared for 1,059 patients with Barrett's esophagus, 1,332 controls with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and 1,143 population-based controls.

The researchers found that patients with Barrett's esophagus were significantly more likely to have ever smoked cigarettes than the population-based control group or the GERD cohort (odds ratio, 1.67 and 1.61, respectively). There was an increased risk of Barrett's esophagus with increasing pack-years of smoking. Among individuals who ever smoked and had heartburn or regurgitation, the attributable proportion of disease was estimated at 0.39.

"Cigarette smoking is a risk factor for Barrett's esophagus," the authors conclude. "The evidence we present for a biological interaction between smoking and heartburn/regurgitation suggest that cigarette smoking has multifaceted effects in the development of this precancerous metaplasia."

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