Objective: We investigated the distribution of serious comorbidity in patients with newly diagnosed oesophageal and gastric cancer between 1993 and 2001. Our special interest was comparing distal oesophageal and gastric cardia adenocarcinoma patients since a common origin of these tumours has been suggested.
Methods: Data on comorbidity (previous cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, hypertension, ulcerative digestive tract diseases, liver diseases and diabetes) were derived from a population-based database in The Netherlands to compare risk factor profiles for 479 oesophageal squamous cell carcinomas, 339 distal oesophageal adenocarcinomas, 570 cardia adenocarcinomas and 1965 subcardia cancers.
Results: A comparable age and gender distribution was shown in distal oesophageal and cardia adenocarcinoma patients. After adjustment for age and gender, only the prevalence of previous cancers differed between adenocarcinomas of distal oesophagus and cardia [more frequent in distal oesophageal adenocarcinoma patients, odds ratio (OR) = 1.84, P = 0.01]. Ulcerative and liver diseases were more prevalent in oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma patients as compared with distal oesophageal adenocarcinoma patients (OR = 1.90, P = 0.02 and OR = 8.82, P = 0.04, respectively), whereas diabetes was more prevalent in the latter (OR = 0.56, P = 0.03). Cardia adenocarcinoma patients significantly more often had hypertension as compared with subcardia cancer patients (OR = 1.53, P = 0.001), whereas the latter more often suffered from previous cancers and ulcerative diseases (OR = 0.54, P = 0.0009 and OR = 0.25, P < 0.0001, respectively).
Conclusions: In terms of comorbidity at diagnosis, cardia adenocarcinoma patients resemble distal oesophageal adenocarcinoma patients rather than gastric subcardia carcinoma patients, with likewise equal age and gender distribution.