Background: The incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma in White males has been reported to be increasing. The aims of this study were to determine: 1) the incidence trends of esophageal carcinoma in the United States with an emphasis on histologic type, sex, and ethnicity, 2) whether the reported increase in stage IV tumors can be confirmed, and 3) survival trends and factors affecting survival.
Methods: Data from the SEER program of the National Cancer Institute with submission dates 1973-98 were used. Data on Hispanics were available for analysis only for the years 1992-98. Statistical analysis was performed utilizing SEER*Stat and SAS statistical software packages.
Results: The incidence of adenocarcinoma in White males is still rising (7.8%/year, P < 0.0001); however, the same trend was observed for White females (6.48%/year; P < 0.0001). Hispanic males (3.91 %/year; P < 0.02), and Hispanic females (9.4%/ year; P < 0.04). The incidence of squamous cell carcinoma has been steadily declining in White males and females and in Black females since 1973, with the incidence showing a dramatic and significant decline in Black males beginning in 1992 (8.53%/year; P = 0.0009). Stage 4 carcinoma is declining in incidence. Survival of patients with esophageal carcinomas has been improving. In a Cox multivariate model, independent prognostic factors in esophageal carcinoma included tumor stage, tumor type, gender, race, age at diagnosis, and year of diagnosis.
Conclusions: 1) The incidence of adenocarcinoma continues to rise in White males and females, but also in Hispanics, while squamous cell carcinoma is declining; 2) the incidence of stage 4 carcinomas has been declining, and 3) survival has been steadily improving, independently of all other risk factors.