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Open Access Research article

Gastroesophageal reflux leads to esophageal cancer in a surgical model with mice

Jing Hao1, Ba Liu1, Chung S Yang1 and Xiaoxin Chen12*

Author Affiliations

1 Susan Lehman Cullman Laboratory for Cancer Research, Department of Chemical Biology, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 164 Frelinghuysen Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA

2 Cancer Research Program, Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute, North Carolina Central University, 700 George Street, Durham, NC 27707, USA

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BMC Gastroenterology 2009, 9:59  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-9-59

Published: 23 July 2009



Esophago-gastroduodenal anastomosis with rats mimics the development of human Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma by introducing mixed reflux of gastric and duodenal contents into the esophagus. However, use of this rat model for mechanistic and chemopreventive studies is limited due to lack of genetically modified rat strains. Therefore, a mouse model of esophageal adenocarcinoma is needed.


We performed reflux surgery on wild-type, p53A135V transgenic, and INK4a/Arf+/- mice of A/J strain. Some mice were also treated with omeprazole (1,400 ppm in diet), iron (50 mg/kg/m, i.p.), or gastrectomy plus iron. Mouse esophagi were harvested at 20, 40 or 80 weeks after surgery for histopathological analysis.


At week 20, we observed metaplasia in wild-type mice (5%, 1/20) and p53A135V mice (5.3%, 1/19). At week 40, metaplasia was found in wild-type mice (16.2%, 6/37), p53A135V mice (4.8%, 2/42), and wild-type mice also receiving gastrectomy and iron (6.7%, 1/15). Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma developed in INK4a/Arf+/- mice (7.1%, 1/14), and wild-type mice receiving gastrectomy and iron (21.4%, 3/14). Among 13 wild-type mice which were given iron from week 40 to 80, twelve (92.3%) developed squamous cell carcinoma at week 80. None of these mice developed esophageal adenocarcinoma.


Surgically induced gastroesophageal reflux produced esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, but not esophageal adenocarcinoma, in mice. Dominant negative p53 mutation, heterozygous loss of INK4a/Arf, antacid treatment, iron supplementation, or gastrectomy failed to promote esophageal adenocarcinoma in these mice. Further studies are needed in order to develop a mouse model of esophageal adenocarcinoma.