Background: There is an unexplained male predominance in the incidence of oesophageal adenocarcinoma, and the sex-specific distribution of its risk factors in the general population is not known.
Methods: A random sample of Swedish citizens aged 40-79 years completed a questionnaire for assessment of the prevalence of five risk factors for oesophageal adenocarcinoma: reflux symptoms, body mass index, tobacco smoking habits, socioeconomic status, and use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to evaluate the association of these risk factors, separately and combined, with male sex, with women as reference.
Results: Among 6969 invited people, 4906 (70.4%) completed the questionnaire. Adjusted prevalence estimates showed a negative association with male sex with regard to reflux disease (OR=0.70, 95% CI=0.58-0.84), whereas overweight (OR=1.98, 95% CI=1.72-2.27) and obesity (OR=1.22, 95% CI=1.01-1.47), previous smoking (OR=1.50, 95% CI=1.30-1.72), and no NSAID use (OR=1.35, 95% CI=1.15-1.49) were positively associated.
Conclusions: Exposure to some but not all established risk factors for oesophageal adenocarcinoma seems to be more common in men than in women, but the differences are small and unlikely to explain the male predominance of this tumour.