Objectives: Since the 1970s incidence rates for esophageal and gastric cardia adenocarcinomas have risen substantially, particularly among white males in the United States. Reasons for the increase of these tumor types are not well understood. We sought to determine the role of smoking, alcohol use, and body size characteristics in the etiology of esophageal, gastric cardia, and distal gastric adenocarcinomas.
Materials and methods: A population-based case-control study that included Whites, African-Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans diagnosed with incident esophageal (n = 222), gastric cardia (n = 277), and distal gastric adenocarcinomas (n = 443), and 1356 control subjects was conducted in Los Angeles County. Unconditional logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs), as an estimate of the relative risk, and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the three tumor types of interest.
Results: After adjustment for age, gender, race, birthplace, and education, current cigarette smoking was a significant risk factor for all tumor types; the association was strongest for esophageal adenocarcinomas (OR = 2.80, 95% CI = 1.8-4.3), intermediate for gastric cardia adenocarcinomas (OR = 2.12, 95% CI = 1.5-3.1), and weaker for distal gastric adenocarcinomas (OR= 1.50, 95% CI = 1.1-2.1). For esophageal adenocarcinomas only, cigarette smoking had a long-lasting deleterious effect, even 20 years after smoking cessation. Alcohol use was not associated with an increased risk of these tumor types. Risks of esophageal and gastric cardia adenocarcinomas also increased statistically significantly in a dose-dependent manner with increasing body mass index measured at ages 20 and 40 years and recently. The positive associations with smoking and body mass index were generally consistent when evaluated separately for Whites, non-Whites, males, and females.
Conclusions: Cigarette smoking and high body mass index are significant, independent risk factors for esophageal and gastric cardia adenocarcinomas. Studies designed to understand the mechanisms whereby smoking and high body mass influence these tumor types are needed.