Recent developments in esophageal adenocarcinoma

Authors

  • Jesper Lagergren MD, PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Professor and Senior Consultant, Unit of Upper Gastrointestinal Research, Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Professor, Division of Cancer Studies, King's College London, London, United Kingdom
    • Corresponding author: Jesper Lagergren, MD, PhD, Unit of Upper Gastrointestinal Research, Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet, Norra Stationsgatan 67, Level 2, SE-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden; jesper.lagergren@ki.se

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  • Pernilla Lagergren PhD

    1. Professor, Unit of Upper Gastrointestinal Research, Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • DISCLOSURES: The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Abstract

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Esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) is characterized by 6 striking features: increasing incidence, male predominance, lack of preventive measures, opportunities for early detection, demanding surgical therapy and care, and poor prognosis. Reasons for its rapidly increasing incidence include the rising prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux and obesity, combined with the decreasing prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection. The strong male predominance remains unexplained, but hormonal influence might play an important role. Future prevention might include the treatment of reflux or obesity or chemoprevention with nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs or statins, but no evidence-based preventive measures are currently available. Likely future developments include endoscopic screening of better defined high-risk groups for EAC. Individuals with Barrett esophagus might benefit from surveillance, at least those with dysplasia, but screening and surveillance strategies need careful evaluation to be feasible and cost-effective. The surgery for EAC is more extensive than virtually any other standard procedure, and postoperative survival, health-related quality of life, and nutrition need to be improved (eg, by improved treatment, better decision-making, and more individually tailored follow-up). Promising clinical developments include increased survival after preoperative chemoradiotherapy, the potentially reduced impact on health-related quality of life after minimally invasive surgery, and the new endoscopic therapies for dysplastic Barrett esophagus or early EAC. The overall survival rates are improving slightly, but poor prognosis remains a challenge. CA Cancer J Clin 2013;63:232–248. ©2013 American Cancer Society.

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