Men, particularly those with adenocarcinoma, have a significantly higher risk for developing esophageal cancer compared with women worldwide, with a fourfold greater risk globally and an eightfold greater risk in North America, according to new global estimates of esophageal cancer incidence.
Using data from the CI5X registry and GLOBOCAN 2012 project, researchers estimated global, regional and national esophageal cancer incidence in 2012 by histological type. They assessed the incidence of the two major histological types — adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma — and calculated overall, age- and sex-specific estimates.
Approximately 456,000 people developed esophageal cancer in 2012, including 398,000 cases of squamous cell carcinoma (69.8% men) and 52,000 cases of adenocarcinoma (78.8% men), which corresponded to a squamous cell carcinoma incidence rate of 5.2 (7.7 in men, 2.8 in women) and an adenocarcinoma rate of 0.7 (1.1 in men, 0.3 in women) per 100,000. In 90% of countries represented, the squamous cell carcinoma rate was higher compared with adenocarcinoma for both sexes, but high-income nations had higher rates of adenocarcinoma compared with squamous cell carcinoma, especially the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Of all squamous cell carcinoma cases worldwide, Southeast and Central Asia accounted for 79%, whereas Northern and Western Europe, North America and Oceania accounted for 46% of adenocarcinoma cases worldwide. Men had significantly higher incidence of esophageal cancer overall, especially with adenocarcinoma (male to female ratio, 4.4) compared with squamous cell carcinoma (male to female ratio, 2.7).
“Overall, these data support previous findings in relation to the prevalence and geographical variation of the respective subtypes,” the researchers concluded. “Yet, no comprehensive explanation for high rates of [squamous cell carcinoma] in some areas, for example, Eastern Africa, exists based on currently known risk factors and requires further research. This quantification of incidence will aid health policy makers to plan appropriate cancer control measures.”
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.