Retracted claim: reflux treatment reduces esophageal cancer

  • JAMA Oncol

  • curated by Jim Kling
  • Univadis Clinical Summaries
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Takeaway

  • A statistical error undermines a previous article that claimed that patients who underwent antireflux surgery or treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) had gradually decreased risk for esophageal adenocarcinoma, eventually dropping to levels similar to the background population.

Why this matters

  • The new statistical analysis changes the original article’s finding, and now suggests that neither surgery nor medical treatment has any effect on esophageal adenocarcinoma risk in patients with GERD.

Study design

  • Statistical reanalysis of a population-based cohort study of 48,414 patients with GERD who underwent antireflux surgery and 894,492 patients treated with medication only.
  • Funding: None disclosed.

Key results

  • A review of the study revealed that, within each follow-up category, the analysis only included people with the total study time within the category.
  • The error led to an underestimation of person-years in earlier follow-up categories and an overestimation in later follow-up categories.
  • A reanalysis revealed new standardized incidence ratios that conflicted with the earlier report, instead showing no decrease of esophageal adenocarcinoma risk over time.

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