RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Association of esophageal inflammation, obesity and gastroesophageal reflux disease: from FDG PET/CT perspective.

OBJECTIVE: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is associated with bothersome symptoms and neoplastic progression into Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma. We aim to determine the correlation between GERD, esophageal inflammation and obesity with 18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT).

METHODS: We studied 458 subjects who underwent a comprehensive health check-up, which included an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, FDG PET/CT and complete anthropometric measures. GERD symptoms were evaluated with Reflux Disease Questionnaire. Endoscopically erosive esophagitis was scored using the Los Angeles classification system. Inflammatory activity, represented by standardized uptake values (SUVmax) of FDG at pre-determined locations of esophagus, stomach and duodenum, were compared. Association between erosive esophagitis, FDG activity and anthropometric evaluation, including body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue volumes were analyzed.

RESULTS: Subjects with erosive esophagitis (n = 178, 38.9%) had significantly higher SUVmax at middle esophagus (2.69±0.74 vs. 2.41±0.57, P<.001) and esophagogastric junction (3.10±0.89 vs. 2.38±0.57, P<.001), marginally higher at upper esophageal sphincter (2.29±0.42 vs. 2.21±0.48, P = .062), but not in stomach or duodenum. The severity of erosive esophagitis correlated with SUVmax and subjects with Barrett's esophagus had the highest SUVmax at middle esophagus and esophagogastric junction. Heartburn positively correlated with higher SUVmax at middle oesophagus (r = .262, P = .003). Using multivariate regression analyses, age (P = .027), total cholesterol level (P = .003), alcohol drinking (P = .03), subcutaneous adipose tissue (P<.001), BMI (P<.001) and waist circumference (P<.001) were independently associated with higher SUVmax at respective esophageal locations.

CONCLUSIONS: Esophageal inflammation demonstrated by FDG PET/CT correlates with endoscopic findings and symptomatology of GERD. Obesity markers, both visceral and general, are independent determinants of esophageal inflammation.

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