Objective: Time trend studies in the USA have shown that the incidences of adenocarcinomas of the oesophagus and gastric cardia have risen strongly since the 1970s, whereas the incidence of squamous cell carcinomas of the oesophagus has declined. Earlier, we found that the incidence of these adenocarcinomas also rose in some European countries until the early 1990s. The main goal of this study was to investigate more recent trends in the incidence of oesophageal and stomach cancer subtypes in the European countries.
Methods: Eurocim cancer incidence data of 23 cancer registries from 13 European countries were used to investigate the incidence trends in oesophageal and stomach cancer subtypes during the 1983-1997 period. We calculated estimated annual percentage changes (EAPCs) in European age-standardized incidence rates and 95% confidence intervals.
Results: The incidence of adenocarcinomas of the oesophagus and gastric cardia rose in most, but not all, registration areas (EAPCs were usually 1-7%), the strongest in the UK and Ireland. Oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma incidence rose mostly in Northern European and Slovakian men (EAPCs: 1-5%) and in women from all regions (EAPCs: 1-8%), but declined mostly in Southern and Western European men (EAPCs: -1 to -5%).
Conclusion: Our results are partly in line with earlier findings on adenocarcinomas of the oesophagus and gastric cardia. There was, however, substantial heterogeneity in trends of subtypes of these cancers within Europe. There may be different risk factors for these cancers, and the prevalence of these risk factors may differ among countries.