Accumulating epidemiological studies have supported the link between increased body mass index, central obesity and esophageal adenocarcinoma. This association appears stronger than that for other types of obesity-related cancers. Central obesity or visceral fat, more often observed in men, is much more strongly associated with adenocarcinoma than body mass index alone, possibly contributing to the imbalance of disease occurrence between the sexes. Potential mechanisms underlying the association between obesity and esophageal adenocarcinoma have been recently identified, including the insulin-like growth factor pathway, adipokines and sex hormone disturbances. These findings are summarized in this review; however, more research is warranted before these mechanisms are conclusively established.
Keywords: Esophageal adenocarcinoma; adipokine; insulin; obesity.