Glycogenic acanthosis

Last revised by Assoc Prof Frank Gaillard on 27 Jun 2017

Glycogenic acanthosis is a benign finding on esophagography in elderly patients.

It most commonly occurs in patients >40 years of age and incidence and numbers of lesions increase by age. No gender predilection exists. Typically patients are asymptomatic. 

It occurs from a combination of cellular hyperplasia and increased cellular glycogen in squamous epithelial cells lining the esophagus. The esophageal mucosa is otherwise normal. It is not thought to be associated with gastro-esophageal reflux.

Severe forms are seen in patients with Cowden syndrome.

  • multiple small nodules and plaques measuring 2-10 mm
  • plaques are randomly distributed
  • often in the upper to mid thoracic esophagus
  • the appearance can appear similar to other forms of esophagitis like reflux esophagitis which however occur more distally and candida esophagitis which is more linear in configuration 

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