Racial differences in the histology, location, and risk factors of esophageal cancer

Naga Chalasani, John M. Wo, J. Patrick Waring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Scopus citations


Although esophageal cancer is uncommon in the united states, its high mortality rate and recent increased incidence make it an important malignancy. Because there appears to be significant racial variation in the types of esophageal cancer, we examined a group of black patients with esophageal cancer and compared their risk factors, histology, and location with those of a cohort of white patients with esophageal cancer seen during the same period. We retrospectively reviewed patients with esophageal cancer seen at three major hospitals in Atlanta, Georgia from January 1990 to April 1996. Patients of races other than white or black were excluded from this study. The esophagus was separated into upper, middle, and lower thirds by defined criteria. Of the eligible 234 patients, 129 were black and 105 were white. In blacks with esophageal cancer, squamous cell cancer was the predominant type (92%), and adenocarcinoma was infrequent. In whites, adenocarcinoma was more common than squamous cell cancer (66% vs. 32%). Although Barrett's esophagus was distinctly uncommon, smoking and alcohol consumption were significantly more common in blacks. Only 43% of the patients with adenocarcinoma had evidence of barrett's esophagus. All adenocarcinomas were located in the lower third of the esophagus. There appear to be significant racial differences in the types, risk factors, and location of esophageal cancer. Adenocarcinoma and Barrett's esophagus are uncommon in blacks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-13
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Clinical Gastroenterology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998


  • Barrett's esophagus
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Race
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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