Dietary impact on esophageal cancer in humans: a review

Food Funct. 2018 Apr 25;9(4):1967-1977. doi: 10.1039/c7fo01908d.


Cancer is the abnormal growth of cells that tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way. About 32.6 million people in the world are affected by different types of cancer; 456 000 have esophageal cancer, which is the eighth most common cancer and the sixth most common cause of cancer-related deaths with a toll of 400 000 in 2012. About 80% of cases were reported from the less developed regions of the world. An incidence ratio of 2.4 : 1 for men and women reveals the gender disparity. Esophageal cancer is mainly of two types, namely, squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Most of the studies show a positive correlation of esophageal cancer with alcohol and tobacco consumption, but a negative correlation with fruit and vegetable intake. The type and amount of cereal, fat, meat and beverages consumed are also under study. Significant statistical synergistic interaction has been registered in studies considering the joint effect of the amount of beverage swallowed and its temperature, especially among heavy consumers. The role of non-nutritional components is gaining increasing attention because of their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic and anti-carcinogenic properties. Socioeconomic status is another factor that cannot be ignored. Nevertheless, the predominant cause appears to be different in different regions, and in spite of the great advancements in the medical field, this still remains an enigma for researchers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / epidemiology
  • Adenocarcinoma / etiology
  • Adenocarcinoma / prevention & control
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / etiology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / prevention & control
  • Developing Countries
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Diet, Healthy*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Food Contamination / prevention & control
  • Fruit
  • Functional Food
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / etiology
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / physiopathology
  • Global Health*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / etiology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meat / adverse effects
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck
  • Tobacco Use / adverse effects
  • Tobacco Use / prevention & control
  • Vegetables

Supplementary concepts

  • Adenocarcinoma Of Esophagus