Background and Aims: Previous studies reported significant variation in the management of patients with Barrett's esophagus. However, these are based on self-reported clinical practice. The aim of this study was to examine the management of high-grade dysplasia in Barrett's esophagus in England by using patient-level data and to compare practice with guidelines.
Methods: From April 2012 to March 2013, National Health Service (NHS) trusts in England prospectively collected data on patients newly diagnosed with high-grade dysplasia (HGD) of the esophagus as part of the National Oesophago-Gastric Cancer Audit. Data were collected on patient characteristics, diagnosis and endoscopic findings, treatment planning, and therapy.
Results: Between April 2012 and March 2013, NHS trusts reported 465 cases of HGD. Diagnosis was confirmed by a second pathologist in 79.4% of cases (270/340), and 86.0% (374/465) had their treatment planned at a multidisciplinary team meeting. A total of 290 patients (62.4%) were managed endoscopically (frequently with endoscopic resection or radiofrequency ablation), whereas 26 patients (5.6%) had esophagectomy. The proportion of patients managed by surveillance varied by age (P <.001), ranging from 19.5% in patients aged <65 years to 63.8% in patients aged ≥85 years. More patients received active treatment if their cases were discussed at a multidisciplinary meeting (73.5% vs 44.3%; P <.001) or managed at higher-volume trusts (87.8% vs 55.4%; P <.001).
Conclusions: There was marked variation in the management of HGD across England, with a third of patients receiving no active treatment. Patients discussed at a specialist multidisciplinary meeting or managed in high-volume trusts were more likely to receive active treatment.