Endoscopic gastric biopsy specimens taken in 1976 from 174 patients were reviewed. Biopsy specimens from 44 patients showed intestinal metaplasia, and subtyping by mucin histochemistry showed that 16 were of type I, 14 of type II, and 14 of type III. Only two of these 174 patients developed gastric adenocarcinoma over the next 10 to 11 years: one with type II and one with type III intestinal metaplasia. Case notes of a separate group of 68 patients with gastric adenocarcinoma diagnosed in 1985 were reviewed for evidence of intestinal metaplasia in a previous gastric biopsy. Only two patients had previously been biopsied; one of these biopsy specimens showed type II intestinal metaplasia and the other showed no intestinal metaplasia. These findings suggest that subtyping of intestinal metaplasia in endoscopic gastric biopsy specimens is of only limited value in identifying patients at risk of gastric adenocarcinoma who require long term follow up.
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