Adenocarcinoma of the Esophagus: Risk factors and prevention

Elisabeth I. Heath, Paul J. Limburg, Ernest T. Hawk, Arlene A. Forastiere

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Esophageal cancer, with an estimated number of 12,300 new cases in the year 2000, is relatively uncommon in the United States but produces a high number of annual deaths, estimated at 12,100. Moreover, the incidence of the adenocarcinoma histologic type of esophageal cancer has been rising over the past two decades. Identification of risk factors could lead to primary prevention, as well as earlier diagnosis, treatment, and increased survival. Multiple risk factors are associated with the development of esophageal adenocarcinoma. These include Barrett's esophagus, acid peptic disorders, motor disorders of the esophagus, other malignancies, medications, environmental exposures, diet, and nutrition. However, no one particular risk factor is responsible for the rising incidence of esophageal cancer. Several preventive strategies are under investigation using such agents as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), selenium, alpha-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO), and retinoids. As we gain more insight into the biology of this disease, other risk factors will hopefully be identified that will enable us to develop effective prevention strategies and, thus, reverse the current rising incidence of esophageal carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-514
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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