Personal and family history of cancer and the risk of Barrett's esophagus in men

Dis Esophagus. 2015 Apr;28(3):283-90. doi: 10.1111/dote.12185. Epub 2014 Feb 17.


The association between Barrett's esophagus (BE) and a personal or family history of cancer other than gastroesophageal remains unknown. To evaluate the effect of personal and family history of certain cancers and cancer treatments on the risk of BE, we analyzed data from a Veterans Affairs case-control study that included 264 men with definitive BE (cases) and 1486 men without BE (controls). Patients with history of esophageal or gastric cancer were excluded. Patients underwent elective esophagogastroduodenoscopy or a study esophagogastroduodenoscopy concurrently with screening colonoscopy to determine BE status. Personal and family history of several types of cancer was obtained from self-reported questionnaires, supplemented and verified by electronic medical-record reviews. We estimated the association between personal and family history of cancer or radiation/chemotherapy, and BE. Personal history of oropharyngeal cancer (1.5% vs. 0.4%) or prostate cancer (7.2% vs. 4.4%) was more frequently present in cases than controls. The association between BE and prostate cancer persisted in multivariable analyses (adjusted odds ratio 1.90; 95% confidence interval 1.07-3.38, P = 0.028) while that with oropharyngeal cancer (adjusted odds ratio 3.63; 95% confidence interval 0.92-14.29, P = 0.066) was attenuated after adjusting for retained covariates of age, race, gastroesophageal reflux disease, hiatal hernia, and proton pump inhibitor use. Within the subset of patients with cancer, prior treatment with radiation or chemotherapy was not associated with BE. There were no significant differences between cases and controls in the proportions of subjects with several specific malignancies in first- or second-degree relatives. In conclusion, the risk of BE in men may be elevated with prior personal history of oropharyngeal or prostate cancer. However, prior cancer treatments and family history of cancer were not associated with increased risk of BE. Further studies are needed to elucidate if there is a causative relationship or shared risk factors between prostate cancer and BE.

Keywords: Barrett's esophagus; esophageal adenocarcinoma; prostate cancer; radiation-induced esophageal damage; sex hormone.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Barrett Esophagus / etiology*
  • Barrett Esophagus / genetics
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colonoscopy
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System
  • Family
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / complications
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / complications
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Report
  • United States
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs