Sex and racial predilection, social history, and histology were analyzed in a biopsy-proven adenocarcinoma of the lower esophagus/esophagogastric junction collected over a 5-year period in two teaching institutions with different patient populations. Adenocarcinoma occurred in 11% of patients with biopsy-proven esophageal cancer. The disease occurred only in males at one center, and in a 7:1 ratio of males to females at the other center. Clear racial predilection was seen, since 12 of 13 patients with adenocarcinoma of the esophagus were white, whereas less than 20% of patients with squamous carcinoma of the esophagus were white. The finding of Barrett's epithelium in eight of the 13 cases strongly supports the theory that in white males, Barrett's epithelium is a precursor lesion of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus/esophagogastric junction.