Introduction: Increases in the rates of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) have paralleled rises in the prevalence of overweight and obesity. Despite not being fully understood, obesity-related EAC seems to have different carcinogenic pathways.
Areas covered: This comprehensive review will thoroughly evaluate the current literature, describing the underlying mechanisms that help understanding the strong association between obesity and esophageal cancer.
Expert commentary: The risk of esophageal cancer among obese individuals could be partially explained by several factors: high prevalence of GERD; linear association between central adiposity and Barrett´s esophagus development; low levels of adiponectin and high levels of leptin that alter cell proliferation processes; insulin-resistant state that creates a tumorigenesis environment; and changes in the esophageal microbiota due to unhealthy dietary habits that promote carcinogenesis. In addition, a large proportion of obese patients are undergoing sleeve gastrectomy which can worsen GERD or cause de novo reflux, esophagitis, and Barrett´s metaplasia.
Keywords: Barrett´s esophagus; Obesity; Roux-en-Y gastric bypass; esophageal cancer; gastroesophageal reflux disease; sleeve gastrectomy.