Reevaluation of gastroesophageal reflux disease as a risk factor for laryngeal cancer

Laryngoscope. 2011 Jan;121(1):102-5. doi: 10.1002/lary.21165.


Objectives/hypothesis: The relationship between gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and laryngeal cancer has not been fully elucidated. This case-control study investigates whether GERD increases the odds of developing these malignancies.

Study design: Case-control study.

Methods: Rates of GERD among cases of laryngeal cancer identified in the Veterans Health Administration outpatient care files (year 2000-2006) were compared with controls. Cases (N = 14,449) were frequency matched 1:1 with controls. Multivariate logistic regression was used to determine the association between GERD and cancer.

Results: After adjusting for tobacco and/or alcohol use, there was no association between GERD and laryngeal cancer (adjusted odds ratio, 1.01; 95% confidence interval, 0.92-1.12, P =.780). Although an association was found when time from GERD diagnosis to malignancy was less than 3 months, it disappeared when this period was extended further.

Conclusions: In this population, there was no increased risk of laryngeal cancer among patients with GERD. However, in subsite analysis, a possible relationship between GERD and glottic cancer was observed. Reverse causality must be considered in future studies assessing the relationship between reflux and laryngeal cancer to limit misclassification bias.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications*
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors