Background: Oesophageal adenocarcinoma is the sixth leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. Previously, oesophageal cancer was mainly squamous cell, presenting late with dysphagia and weight loss. Aims: To examine the distribution of oesophageal cancer histopathology at a large, urban hospital; to determine the tumour stage and symptoms at presentation; and to evaluate the impact of endoscopic surveillance in Barrett's oesophagus. Methods: From 1999 to 2004, all patients diagnosed with oesophageal cancer were evaluated retrospectively for demographics and tumour stage at presentation using endoscopic ultrasonography and computerized tomography. Results: A total of 131 patients were included. 81% of tumours were adenocarcinomas; most localized to the distal oesophagus (97%). Patients presented with dysphagia (56%), pain (30%) and/or weight loss (16%). Irrespective of histology, locally advanced lesions accounted for most cases. Thirteen patients had lesions detected in Barrett's surveillance; these were early or intermediate stage in nine patients, but late stage in four patients. Conclusions: Adenocarcinoma has become the dominant histologic subtype, comprising 81% of proven malignancies. Despite a change in histopathology, most cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage, presenting with dysphagia, pain and/or weight loss. Endoscopic surveillance of Barrett's oesophagus allows earlier diagnosis of cancer in most, but not all, patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)