Epidemiology and risk factors for oesophageal adenocarcinoma

Dig Liver Dis. 2013 Aug;45(8):625-9. doi: 10.1016/j.dld.2012.12.020. Epub 2013 Feb 28.


Oesophageal adenocarcinoma will soon cease to be a rare form of cancer for people born after 1940. In many Western countries, its incidence has increased more rapidly than other digestive cancers. Incidence started increasing in the Seventies in England and USA, 15 years later in Western Europe and Australia. The cumulative risk between the ages of 15 and 74 is particularly striking in the UK, with a tenfold increase in men and fivefold increase in women in little more than a single generation. Prognosis is poor with a 5-year relative survival rate of less than 10%. The main known risk factors are gastro-oesophageal reflux, obesity (predominantly mediated by intra-abdominal adipose tissues) and smoking. Barrett's oesophagus is a precancerous lesion, however, the risk of degeneration has been overestimated. In population-based studies the annual risk of adenocarcinoma varied between 0.12% and 0.14% and its incidence between 1.2 and 1.4 per 1000 person-years. Only 5% of subjects with Barrett's oesophagus die of oesophageal adenocarcinoma. On the basis of recent epidemiological data, new surveillance strategies should be developed. The purpose of this review is to focus on the epidemiology and risk factors of oesophageal adenocarcinoma.

Keywords: Barrett's oesophagus; Incidence; Oesophageal adenocarcinoma; Risk factors; Survival.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / epidemiology*
  • Adenocarcinoma / etiology
  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Age Distribution
  • Barrett Esophagus / complications
  • Body Mass Index
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Obesity, Abdominal / complications
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Survival Rate