Background: Over the last few decades, esophageal cancer incidence and mortality trends varied substantially across Europe, with important differences between sexes and the two main histological subtypes, squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and adenocarcinoma (EAC).
Patients and methods: To monitor recent esophageal cancer mortality trends and to compute short-term predictions in the European Union (EU) and selected European countries, we analyzed data provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) for 1980-2011. We also analyzed incidence trends and relative weights of ESCC and EAC across Europe using data from Cancer Incidence in Five Continents.
Results: Long-term decreasing trends were observed for male esophageal cancer mortality in several southern and western European countries, whereas in central Europe mortality increased until the mid-1990s and started to stabilize or decline over the last years. In some eastern and northern countries, the rates were still increasing. Mortality among European women remained comparatively low and showed stable or decreasing trends in most countries. Between 2000-2004 and 2005-2009, esophageal cancer mortality declined by 7% (from 5.34 to 4.99/100 000) in EU men, and by 3% (from 1.12 to 1.09/100 000) in EU women. Predictions to 2015 show persistent declines in mortality rates for men in the EU overall, and stable rates for EU women, with rates for 2015 of 4.5/100 000 men (about 22 300 deaths) and 1.1/100 000 women (about 7400 deaths). In northern Europe, EAC is now the predominant histological type among men, while for European women ESCC is more common and corresponding rates are still increasing in several countries.
Conclusion(s): The observed trends reflect the variations in alcohol drinking, tobacco smoking and overweight across European countries.
Keywords: Europe; esophageal neoplasms; histologic type; incidence; mortality; trends.