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Hemochromatosis gene status as a risk factor for Barrett’s esophagus

Conditions causing high iron levels, such as hemochromatosis, are proposed risk factors for esophageal adenocarcinoma. Although this hypothesis is supported by animal models, no human data currently exist. We conducted a case-control study of persons with a new Barrett’s esophagus diagnosis (cases), persons with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) (without Barrett’s esophagus), and population controls. Subjects completed detailed examinations and assays for hemochromatosis mutations and serum iron stores. We evaluated 317 cases, 306 GERD patients, and 308 population controls. There was no significant association between Barrett’s esophagus and any hemochromatosis gene defect (odds ratio [OR] = 1.32, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.95-1.84), a moderate or severe mutation (OR = 1.54, 95% CI: 0.94-2.52), or a severe mutation (C282Y homozygote or C282Y/H63D heterozygote; OR = 0.77, 95% CI: 0.24-2.48) compared with the population controls. As expected, gene defects were associated with increased iron stores. We can conclude from our findings that Barrett’s esophagus was not associated with hemochromatosis gene defects, although we cannot exclude small effects.

Authors: Corley DA; Kubo A; Levin TR; Block G; Habel L; Rumore GJ; Quesenberry C; Buffler P

Dig Dis Sci. 2008 Dec;53(12):3095-102. Epub 2008 May 10.

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