Background and Aims: In clinical practice, most patients with symptoms suggestive of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) undergo esophago-gastro-duodenoscopy (EGD), despite its low sensitivity in detecting reflux stigmata. Gastrin 17 (G-17) has been proposed to be related with GERD, due to the negative feedback between acid secretion and this hormone. We assessed the clinical usefulness of fasting G-17 serum determination for a non-invasive diagnosis of GERD in patients with typical symptoms.

Methods: We consecutively enrolled patients complaining of typical GERD symptoms in two different settings: a single referral center and a primary care setting. Control groups consisted of dyspeptic patients. All subjects underwent assessment of serum levels of G-17 and EGD.

Results: At the academic hospital, 100 GERD patients (n=89 with erosive esophagitis and 11 with Barrett’s esophagus) had statistically significant low levels of G-17 as compared with 184 dyspeptic patients (1.7±1.2 pg/L vs 8.9±5.7 pg/L p<0.0001). Similarly, in the primary care setting, 163 GERD patients had statistically significant low levels of G-17 as compared with 132 dyspeptic patients (0.5±0.2 pg/L vs. 4.0±2.6 pg/L, p<0.0001). Moreover, in the primary care setting, no statistically significant differences were found for G-17 levels between patients with erosive and non-erosive reflux pattern (0.4±0.2 vs 0.7±0.3; p=0.08). In primary care, the accuracy of G-17 less than 1 pg/L to diagnose non-invasively GERD was 94.3%.

Conclusions: Low levels of G-17 were detected in patients with erosive esophagitis and Barrett’s esophagus in a referral center and in patients with typical GERD symptoms in a sample of patients from a primary care setting.


reflux disease, GERD, erosive esophagitis, Barrett’s esophagus, gastrin 17, pepsinogens