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06-10-2009 | Gastroenterology | Article

Newly diagnosed CLE patients ‘getting younger’


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MedWire News: UK study findings suggest that newly diagnosed patients with columnar-lined esophagus (CLE) are getting younger.

The findings showed that the mean age of CLE diagnosis decreased during a 16-year period in both men and women, with a rise in the proportion of newly diagnosed patients aged below 50 years.

The prevalence of CLE appears to have increased steadily in Europe and North America over the past 3 decades, say Christine Caygill (University College London) and colleagues.

They examined how the age of diagnosis had changed by studying the medical records of 7220 patients from 19 centers registered with the UK National Barrett's Oesophagus Registry between 1990 and 2005.

The mean age at diagnosis decreased by 0.19 years for each extra year, resulting in a 3-year decrease in the average age at diagnosis over the study period.

The mean age at diagnosis was older for women than men, at 67.4 versus 61.4 years. However, women also experienced the greatest decrease in age at diagnosis throughout the study period, of 5.6 years versus 1.4 years in men.

Overall, 18.1% of patients in the study were aged less than 50 years at the time of diagnosis, but this proportion increased by a significant 5.7% during the course of study, equivalent to an average increase of 0.36% for each successive year.

Reporting in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the authors admit that the study cannot determine whether the changes observed resulted from alterations in diagnostic practice or a change in the disease itself.

“However, the reduction in the age at diagnosis found in this study, together with the previously observed regional variations may be suggestive of a changing environmental factor,” they add.

“Identification of any such factors is of importance for implementation of targeted surveillance.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2009

By Anita Wilkinson