Symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and Barrett's mucosa are risk factors for esophageal adenocarcinoma (ADC). The aim of this study was to analyze the anthropometric features and prevalence of GERD in patients with ADC compared with patients with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and control subjects. A total of 262 patients with ADC and 302 with SCC were enrolled consecutively. A control group of 262 individuals, sex and age matched to the ADC group, and an additional group of 138 patients with GERD confirmed by 24-h pH monitoring were used for comparison. The prevalence of symptomatic GERD was 32.4% in the subgroup of patients with Barrett's ADC (male-female=6.4:1; mean age=62 years) vs. 8% in those with gastric cardia carcinoma (P< 0.01), 3% in the SCC group (P< 0.01), and 10% in the control group (P< 0.01). ADC patients, controls and refluxers had similar body mass index (BMI) that was significantly higher than in the SCC group (P< 0.05). Whether surveillance endoscopy is indicated in men over 50 years with a long-lasting history of GERD and a BMI >25 remains to be determined.