Context: Esophageal cancer is a neoplasm with a poor prognosis. Its two histologic subtypes, esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC), have been associated with different risk factors. The possibility of an association between the consumption of hot food and beverages and esophageal cancer, especially ESCC, has long been suspected, presenting a potentially modifiable risk factor. A meta-analysis of existing observational studies was performed to provide a quantitative estimate of the risk of esophageal cancer associated with the consumption of hot food and drink.
Evidence acquisition: A search was conducted through MEDLINE, PubMed, EMBASE, and Current Contents Connect to November 11, 2014. Pooled ORs and 95% CIs were calculated using a random effects model for the risk of esophageal cancer associated with the consumption of hot food and drink. Subgroup analyses were conducted for ESCC and EAC, as well as for studies that adjusted for tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption, two well-recognized risk factors for ESCC.
Evidence synthesis: Consumption of hot food and drink was associated with an increased risk of any esophageal cancer (OR=1.90, 95% CI=1.46, 2.48). Heterogeneity was observed. There was an increased risk of ESCC (OR=2.29, 95% CI=1.79, 2.93), which remained even after adjusting for significant confounding variables (OR=2.39, 95% CI=1.71, 3.33). The relationship was not significant for EAC.
Conclusions: The consumption of hot food and beverages was associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer, particularly ESCC.
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