Massively Parallel Sequencing of Esophageal Brushings Enables an Aneuploidy-Based Classification of Patients With Barrett's Esophagus

Christopher Douville, Helen R. Moinova, Prashanthi N. Thota, Nicholas J. Shaheen, Prasad G. Iyer, Marcia Irene Canto, Jean S. Wang, John A. Dumot, Ashley Faulx, Kenneth W. Kinzler, Nickolas Papadopoulos, Bert Vogelstein, Sanford D. Markowitz, Chetan Bettegowda, Joseph E. Willis, Amitabh Chak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Aneuploidy has been proposed as a tool to assess progression in patients with Barrett's esophagus (BE), but has heretofore required multiple biopsies. We assessed whether a single esophageal brushing that widely sampled the esophagus could be combined with massively parallel sequencing to characterize aneuploidy and identify patients with disease progression to dysplasia or cancer. Methods: Esophageal brushings were obtained from patients without BE, with non-dysplastic BE (NDBE), low-grade dysplasia (LGD), high-grade dysplasia (HGD), or adenocarcinoma (EAC). To assess aneuploidy, we used RealSeqS, a technique that uses a single primer pair to interrogate ∼350,000 genome-spanning regions and identify specific chromosome arm alterations. A classifier to distinguish NDBE from EAC was trained on results from 79 patients. An independent validation cohort of 268 subjects was used to test the classifier at distinguishing patients at successive phases of BE progression. Results: Aneuploidy progression was associated with gains of 1q, 12p, and 20q and losses on 9p and 17p. The entire chromosome 8q was often gained in NDBE, whereas focal gain of 8q24 was identified only when there was dysplasia. Among validation subjects, a classifier incorporating these features with a global measure of aneuploidy scored positive in 96% of EAC, 68% of HGD, but only 7% of NDBE. Conclusions: RealSeqS analysis of esophageal brushings provides a practical and sensitive method to determine aneuploidy in BE patients. It identifies specific chromosome changes that occur early in NDBE and others that occur late and mark progression to dysplasia. The clinical implications of this approach can now be tested in prospective trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2043-2054.e2
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Aneuploidy
  • Barrett's Esophagus
  • Chromosome 8q
  • RealSeqS


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