Importance: Gastric cancer is one of the most common cancers, with a high mortality-to-incidence ratio. It is uncertain whether developed nations may encounter an increasing burden of gastric cancer in young adults, as occurs for other cancers.
Objectives: To evaluate the incidence and mortality of gastric cancer and compare the global incidence trends between younger (<40 years) and older (≥40 years) populations.
Design, setting, and participants: This population-based cohort study analyzed data from global and national cancer registries, including data from 1980 to 2018, with at least 15 calendar years of incidence and mortality data. Data on age-standardized incidence and mortality rates of gastric cancer among 48 countries were retrieved from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program, the National Cancer Institute, the Nordic Cancer Registries, and the World Health Organization Mortality Database. The 10-year incidence trend of gastric cancer was assessed by age and sex. The 2018 GLOBOCAN database was used for reporting the global incidence and mortality of gastric cancer, the most recent data available at the time of analysis. Analyses were performed between January 10, 2020, and March 20, 2020.
Main outcomes and measures: The average annual percent change (AAPC) of the incidence and mortality trends as evaluated by joinpoint regression analysis.
Results: A total of 1 033 701 new cases of gastric cancer and 782 685 related deaths were reported in 2018. Overall, the incidence of gastric cancer decreased in 29 countries, and mortality decreased in 41 countries. The age-standardized incidence of gastric cancer decreased from a range of 2.6 to 59.1 in 1980 to a range of 2.5 to 56.8 in 2018 per 100 000 persons. The overall age-standardized mortality rate changed from a range of 1.3 to 25.8 in 1980 to a range of 1.5 to 18.5 in 2018 per 100 000 persons, but increasing mortality was observed in Thailand (female: AAPC, 5.30; 95% CI, 4.38-6.23; P < .001; male: AAPC, 3.92; 95% CI, 2.14-5.74; P < .001). The incidence of gastric cancer decreased in most regions among individuals 40 years or older and increased in populations younger than 40 years in several countries, including Sweden (male: AAPC, 13.92; 95% CI, 7.16-21.11; P = .001), Ecuador (female: AAPC, 6.05; 95% CI, 1.40-10.92; P = .02), and the UK (male: AAPC, 4.27; 95% CI, 0.15-8.55; P = .04; female: AAPC, 3.60; 95% CI, 3.59-3.61; P < .001).
Conclusions and relevance: In this population-based cohort study, an increasing incidence of gastric cancer was observed in younger individuals in some countries, highlighting the need for more preventive strategies in younger populations. Future research should explore the reasons for these epidemiologic trends.