Expression of the high mobility group proteins HMGI(Y) has been shown to be a marker of malignancy in thyroid and pancreatic lesions and to correlate significantly with malignant progression in the colon. The aim of this study was to determine whether HMGI(Y) expression is associated with malignant progression in Barrett's metaplasia (BM). Immunoperoxidase staining for HMGI(Y) was performed on sections of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded endoscopic esophageal biopsies from 42 patients with BM. These consisted of 19 biopsies negative for dysplasia (ND), 16 with low-grade dysplasia (LGD)/indeterminate for dysplasia (IND), and 7 with high-grade dysplasia (HGD)/adenocarcinoma (CA). The percentage of positive cells was recorded, and nuclear HMGI(Y) immunoreactivity in <10% of the cells was considered positive. Statistical analysis was performed using Fisher's exact test. Positive HMGI(Y) staining was detected in 2 of 19 (11%) cases ND, 5 of 16 (30%) LGD/IND cases, and 7 of 7 (100%) HGD/CA cases. Biopsies with HGD/CA were significantly more likely to be positive for HMGI(Y) than biopsies ND (P < 0.0001) or with LGD/IND (P = 0.0046). We conclude that HMGI(Y) expression is significantly associated with malignant progression in BM. Additional studies are needed to determine whether BM biopsies that are ND or LGD/IND and positive for HMGI(Y) are more likely to progress to adenocarcinoma.
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