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The esophagus is about 10 inches long and connects the oral cavity with the stomach.  It is really a muscular tube which passes by the lungs, heart, and through the diaphragm.  Thus it is affected by pressures both within the chest cavity and within the abdomen.  Biopsies play an important role in following the progress of precancerous conditions such as Barrett's esophagus.   Pathologists have well established criteria for determining cytological changes of dysplasia which may herald the development of carcinoma. 

Normal Anatomy and Histology

Barrett's Esophagus
Eosinophilic Esophagitis
Esophageal Cancer, Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Esophageal Cancer, Adenocarcinoma
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)/Hiatal Hernia/Reflux Esophagitis
Stromal Tumors (Leiomyoma, Leiomyosarcoma, Granular Cell Tumors)
Esophageal Varices


Histopathological Features and Variants  
Special Stains/
Electron Microscopy
Commonly Used Terms  
Internet Links  


Inlet patch: prevalence, histologic type, and association with esophagitis, Barrett esophagus, and antritis.

Tang P, McKinley MJ, Sporrer M, Kahn E.

Department of Pathology, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, NY 11030, USA.
Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2004 Apr;128(4):444-7. Abstract quote

CONTEXT: Inlet patch is a congenital anomaly of the cervical esophagus consisting of gastric mucosa. Case reports have documented the histologic type and its associated complications.

OBJECTIVE: To report the prevalence and histologic types of inlet patch as well as its association with Barrett esophagus and Helicobacter pylori-associated gastritis.

DESIGN: We reviewed 1821 consecutive pathology reports from endoscopies of the upper gastrointestinal tract between 1995 and 2002 and identified 20 patients with inlet patch. The patients' ages ranged from 16 to 75 years (mean, 55 years). We examined biopsies from these patients of the cervical esophagus, distal esophagus, and antrum that had been stained with hematoxylin-eosin and the Steiner stain. Biopsies from the cervical esophagus composed of nonoxyntic gastric mucosa were also stained for gastrin-producing cells.

RESULTS: In our patient population, inlet patch occurred in 1.1% of all patients in whom an inlet patch had been searched for endoscopically and a biopsy performed. In the inlet patch, oxyntic mucosa was the most common histologic type (11/20), followed by cardiac mucosa (5/20). Four specimens of the inlet patch contained only foveolar epithelium and were therefore considered too superficial to be classified. Twelve of 20 biopsies of the inlet patch were inflamed, and 1 of them was associated with H pylori. Pancreatic acinar tissue was noted in 2 patients; no intestinal metaplasia was found. In the distal esophagus, 4 patients with inlet patch had distal esophagitis, 4 had Barrett esophagus, 5 had oxyntic mucosa, 3 had pancreatic acinar tissue (1 coexisting with oxyntic mucosa), and 5 presented with only unremarkable esophageal squamous mucosa. Antral gastritis was seen in 2 patients, 1 of them with H pylori. The same patient also had H pylori in the inlet patch.

CONCLUSION: Inlet patch occurred in about 1% of our study population. Oxyntic mucosa constituted the most common histologic type; inflammation was common. The H pylori infection of the inlet patch correlated with that of the antrum. None of the inlet patch biopsies showed intestinal metaplasia. Pancreatic acinar tissue occurred with similar frequency in the inlet patch and distal esophagus. Esophagitis was noted in 25% of the patients with inlet patch, and Barrett esophagus was noted in 20%.
Esophageal melanocytosis morphologic features and review of the literature.

Chang F, Deere H.

Department of Histopathology, St Thomas' Hospital, Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom.
Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2006 Apr;130(4):552-7. Abstract quote  

Endoscopic or macroscopic esophageal melanocytosis is a benign clinicopathologic entity characterized by melanocytic proliferation in esophageal squamous epithelium and melanin deposition in the mucosa.

Little is known about the etiology and natural course of this condition, although it has been suggested to be a precursor of primary esophageal melanoma by some authors.

Following a search of the bibliographic databases (PubMed and Medline) regarding esophageal melanocytosis and melanosis, thirty-four cases of isolated esophageal melanocytosis (including one unpublished case from us) were found.

The histopathologic features of esophageal melanocytosis are reviewed and its differential diagnosis with other pigmented esophageal lesions is discussed.
A Laugier-Hunziker syndrome associated with esophageal melanocytosis.

Yamamoto O, Yoshinaga K, Asahi M, Murata I.

Department of Dermatology and Occupational Dermatopathology, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Kitakyushu, Japan.
Dermatology. 1999;199(2):162-4. Abstract quote  

A 62-year-old Japanese woman came to our clinic because of melanotic macules on the lip, palatoglossal arch, lingual margin and palm. Endoscopic examination revealed a melanotic macule on the midesophageal mucosa but no polyposis in the gastrointestinal tract.

Histologically, the specimens taken from the labial, esophageal and palmar lesions showed an acanthosis and basal hyperpigmentation in the epithelium. The patient had not taken any medication which could lead to pigmentation. As far as we know, this is the first case report of an esophageal melanocytic macule which occurred in a patient with Laugier-Hunziker syndrome.

When confronted with an isolated pigment spot, we emphasize the necessity of systematic examinations for others. Because the pathologic relationship between Laugier-Hunziker syndrome and the esophageal melanocytic lesion is not proven, further studies should clarify this issue.

Henry JB. Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. Twentieth Edition. WB Saunders. 2001.
Rosai J. Ackerman's Surgical Pathology. Ninth Edition. Mosby 2004.
Sternberg S. Diagnostic Surgical Pathology. Fourth Edition. Lipincott Williams and Wilkins 2004.
Robbins Pathologic Basis of Disease. Seventh Edition. WB Saunders 2005.
DeMay RM. The Art and Science of Cytopathology. Volume 1 and 2. ASCP Press. 1996.
Weedon D. Weedon's Skin Pathology Second Edition. Churchill Livingstone. 2002
Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 6th Edition. McGraw-Hill. 2003.
Weiss SW and Goldblum JR. Enzinger and Weiss's Soft Tissue Tumors. Fourth Edition. Mosby 2001.

Commonly Used Terms With Diseases of the Esophagus

Intestinal Metaplasia-This is the histologic transformation of the normal squamous mucosa to mucosa resembling intestinal mucosa.  It is the histology of Barrett's esophagus.

Reflux-Refers to the backflow of stomach contents into the esophagus.

Basic Principles of Disease
Learn the basic disease classifications of cancers, infections, and inflammation

Commonly Used Terms
This is a glossary of terms often found in a pathology report.

Diagnostic Process
Learn how a pathologist makes a diagnosis using a microscope

Surgical Pathology Report
Examine an actual biopsy report to understand what each section means

Special Stains
Understand the tools the pathologist utilizes to aid in the diagnosis

How Accurate is My Report?
Pathologists actively oversee every area of the laboratory to ensure your report is accurate

Got Path?
Recent teaching cases and lectures presented in conferences

Internet Links

Last Updated April 13, 2006

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