The Global Landscape of Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Esophageal Adenocarcinoma Incidence and Mortality in 2020 and Projections to 2040: New Estimates From GLOBOCAN 2020

Gastroenterology. 2022 Sep;163(3):649-658.e2. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2022.05.054. Epub 2022 Jun 4.


Background & aims: The aim of this study was to provide an overview of the burden of esophageal cancer in 185 countries in 2020 and projections for the year 2040.

Methods: Estimates of esophageal cancer cases and deaths were extracted from the GLOBOCAN database for 2020. Age-standardized incidence and mortality rates were calculated overall, by sex, histologic subtype (adenocarcinoma [AC] and squamous cell carcinoma [SCC]), country, and level of human development for 185 countries. The predicted burden of incidence and mortality in 2040 was calculated based on global demographic projections.

Results: Globally, there were an estimated 604,100 new cases of, and 544,100 deaths from, esophageal cancer in 2020, corresponding to age-standardized incidence and mortality rates of 6.3 and 5.6 per 100,000, respectively. Most cases were SCCs (85% [512,500 cases]) and 14% (85,700 cases) were ACs. Incidence and mortality rates were 2- to 3-fold higher in male (9.3 and 8.2, respectively) compared with female (3.6 and 3.2, respectively) individuals. Global variations in incidence and mortality were observed across countries and world regions; the highest rates occurred in Eastern Asia and Southern and Eastern Africa and the lowest occurred in Western Africa and Central America regions. If rates remain stable, 957,000 new cases (141,300 AC cases and 806,000 SCC cases) and 880,000 deaths from esophageal cancer are expected in 2040.

Conclusions: These updated estimates of the global burden of esophageal cancer represent an important baseline for setting priorities in policy making and developing and accelerating cancer control initiatives to reduce the current and projected burden. Although primary prevention remains key, screening and early detection represent important components of esophageal cancer control in high-risk populations.

Keywords: Cancer Prevention; Epidemiology; Esophageal Cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma* / epidemiology
  • Adenocarcinoma* / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma* / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms* / mortality
  • Esophageal Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma* / epidemiology
  • Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma* / mortality
  • Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma* / pathology
  • Female
  • Global Health* / statistics & numerical data
  • Global Health* / trends
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male

Supplementary concepts

  • Adenocarcinoma Of Esophagus