AIM: To explore whether routine biopsies at the high incidence spot of esophagogastric junction (EGJ) cancer are justified in endoscopic screening.
METHODS: This was a multicenter population-based study conducted in eight high-risk areas in China. A total of 37396 participants underwent endoscopic examination. Biopsies were obtained from visible mucosal abnormalities or from normal-appearing mucosa at the high incidence spot of esophagogastric junction cancer when no abnormality was detected. Specimens showing high-grade intraepithelial neoplasia (HIN) or higher grade lesions were deemed as pathologically “positive”. The ratios of positive pathologic diagnosis between participants with abnormal and normal-appearing mucosa were compared using the Pearson χ2 test. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals, adjusted for potential confounders, were calculated using logistic regression.
RESULTS: A total of 37520 individuals participated in this study and 37396 (99.7%) participants had full information and were suitable for analysis. During endoscopic examinations, 9.11% (3405/37396) participants were found to have visible mucosal lesions. Of the participants who had normal-appearing mucosa at the EGJ, only 0.28% (94/33991) were diagnosed with HIN or higher grade lesions, whereas 6.05% (206/3405) of participants with abnormalities at the EGJ had a positive pathologic result. After controlling for other variables, visible abnormal mucosa detected under endoscopy strongly predicted a positive pathologic result (OR = 32.51, 95%CI: 23.96-44.09). The proportion of participants with “positive” pathologic diagnoses increased as the total number of endoscopic examinations performed by the doctors increased (< 5000 cases vs 5000-10000 cases vs > 10000 cases, Z = -2.7207, P = 0.0065, Cochran Armiger trend test). The same trend was found between the proportion of participants with positive pathologic diagnoses and the total number of years the doctors performed endoscopy (< 5 years vs 5-10 years vs > 10 years, Z = -10.3222, P < 0.001, Cochran Armiger trend test).
CONCLUSION: Additional routine biopsies from the high incidence spot of EGJ cancer are of limited value and are unjustified.
Esophagogastric junction cancer; High incidence spot; Screening; Endoscopy; Biopsy
AIM: To explore the DNA image cytometry (DNA-ICM) technique as a primary screening method for esophageal squamous precancerous lesions.
METHODS: This study was designed as a population-based screening study. A total of 582 local residents aged 40 years-69 years were recruited from Linzhou in Henan and Feicheng in Shandong. However, only 452 subjects had results of liquid-based cytology, DNA-ICM and pathology. The sensitivity and specificity of DNA-ICM were calculated and compared with liquid-based cytology in moderate dysplasia or worse.
RESULTS: Sensitivities of DNA-ICM ranging from at least 1 to 4 aneuploid cells were 90.91%, 86.36%, 79.55% and 77.27%, respectively, which were better than that of liquid-based cytology (75%). Specificities of DNA-ICM were 70.83%, 84.07%, 92.65% and 96.81%, but the specificity of liquid-based cytology was 91.91%. The sensitivity and specificity of a combination of liquid-based cytology and DNA-ICM were 84.09% and 85.78%, respectively.
CONCLUSION: It is possible to use DNA-ICM technique as a primary screening method for esophageal squamous precancerous lesions.
DNA image cytometry; Aneuploidy; Screening; Esophageal cancer; Precancerous lesions
AIM: To estimate the cost-benefit of endoscopic screening strategies of esophageal cancer (EC) in high-risk areas of China.
METHODS: Markov model-based analyses were conducted to compare the net present values (NPVs) and the benefit-cost ratios (BCRs) of 12 EC endoscopic screening strategies. Strategies varied according to the targeted screening age, screening frequencies, and follow-up intervals. Model parameters were collected from population-based studies in China, published literatures, and surveillance data.
RESULTS: Compared with non-screening outcomes, all strategies with hypothetical 100 000 subjects saved life years. Among five dominant strategies determined by the incremental cost-effectiveness analysis, screening once at age 50 years incurred the lowest NPV (international dollar-I$55 million) and BCR (2.52). Screening six times between 40-70 years at a 5-year interval [i.e., six times(40)f-strategy] yielded the highest NPV (I$99 million) and BCR (3.06). Compared with six times(40)f-strategy, screening thrice between 40-70 years at a 10-year interval resulted in relatively lower NPV, but the same BCR.
CONCLUSION: EC endoscopic screening is cost-beneficial in high-risk areas of China. Policy-makers should consider the cost-benefit, population acceptance, and local economic status when choosing suitable screening strategies.
Cost-benefit analysis; Esophageal cancer; Endoscopy; Screening; High-risk area
Esophageal cancer is the sixth leading cause of cancer death worldwide; current early detection screening tests are inadequate. Esophageal balloon cytology successfully retrieves exfoliated and scraped superficial esophageal epithelial cells, but cytologic reading of these cells has poor sensitivity and specificity for detecting esophageal squamous dysplasia (ESD), the precursor lesion of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Measuring telomere length, a marker for chromosomal instability, may improve the utility of balloon cytology for detecting ESD and early ESCC.
We examined balloon cytology specimens from 89 asymptomatic cases of ESD (37 low-grade and 52 high-grade) and 92 age- and sex-matched normal controls from an esophageal cancer early detection screening study. All subjects also underwent endoscopy and biopsy, and ESD was diagnosed histopathologically. DNA was extracted from the balloon cytology cells, and telomere length was measured by quantitative PCR. A receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was plotted for telomere length as a diagnostic marker for high-grade dysplasia.
Telomere lengths were comparable among the low- and high-grade dysplasia cases and controls, with means of 0.96, 0.96, and 0.92, respectively. The area under the ROC curve was 0.55 for telomere length as a diagnostic marker for high-grade dysplasia. Further adjustment for subject characteristics, including sex, age, smoking, drinking, hypertension, and body mass index did not improve the use of telomere length as a marker for ESD.
Telomere length of esophageal balloon cytology cells was not associated with ESCC precursor lesions. Therefore, telomere length shows little promise as an early detection marker for ESCC in esophageal balloon samples.
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; Esophageal squamous dysplasia; Early detection; Screening; Balloon cytology; Telomeres
Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is an aggressive cutaneous malignancy, but little is known about the presence or characteristics of MCC in mainland China. A retrospective chart review was conducted to describe the clinical profile of Merkel cell carcinoma in China.
At 18 cancer or dermatology hospitals in metropolitan centers from the six geographical regions of mainland China, approximately 3,100,000 pathology database and medical records were searched for cases that had a pathological diagnosis of MCC between 1970 and 2009. A case series was compiled from retrospective chart reviews of identified MCC patients.
Eight out of 18 participating hospitals reported at least one record of a patient with a pathological diagnosis of MCC, and a total of 22 cases were identified. The median age of patients was 65.5, and 59% were female. The median time from the appearance of a lesion to the time of biopsy was 6 months, and the most common location of lesions was the head and neck. The most common treatment used was surgery alone.
MCC appears to be uncommon in mainland China. Patients in this series are elderly, often had lesions on the head/neck region, and most commonly received surgery alone as treatment. In contrast with MCC in Western countries, the current series' patients were all of Asian ethnicity, had larger lesions at presentation, and none were documented as having HIV or other forms of immunosuppression.
Merkel cell carcinoma; China; skin cancer; case-series
Linzhou, China has one of the highest rates of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in the world. Exposure to carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), such as benzo[a]pyrene (BaP), may play a role in this increased risk. To better understand PAH sources, we measured PAHs in the air and food of 20 non-smokers over multiple days and compared the concentrations to a urinary PAH biomarker, 1-hydroxypyrene glucuronide (1-OHPG). Sampling occurred over four consecutive days. Kitchen air samples (days 2–3) and duplicate diet samples (days 1–4) were analyzed for 14 or more unique PAHs, including BaP. Daily urine samples (days 1–3) were analyzed for 1-OHPG. Mixed-effects models were used to evaluate the associations between air or food PAH concentrations and urine 1-OHPG concentrations. The median kitchen air BaP concentration was 10.2 ng/m3 (inter-quartile range (IQR): 5.1–20.2 ng/m3). The median daily food BaP concentration and intake were 0.08 ng/g (IQR=0.04–0.16 ng/g) and 86 ng/day (IQR=41–142 ng/day), respectively. The median 1-OHPG concentration was 3.36 pmol/mL (IQR=2.09–6.98 pmol/mL). In mixed-effects models, 1-OHPG concentration increased with same-day concentration of food BaP (p=0.07). Though PAH concentrations in air were not associated with 1-OHPG concentrations, the high concentrations of PAHs in both air and food suggest that they are both important routes of exposure to PAHs in this population. Further evaluation of the role of PAH exposure from air and food in the elevated rates of esophageal cancer in this region is warranted.
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; cancer; China; dietary exposure; inhalation exposure; biomonitoring; multimedia exposure assessment
To estimate the contribution of tobacco smoking, alcohol drinking, low vegetable intake and low fruit intake to esophageal cancer mortality and incidence in China.
We calculated the proportion of esophageal cancer attributable to four known modifiable risk factors [population attributable fraction (PAF)]. Exposure data was taken from meta-analyses and large-scale national surveys of representative samples of the Chinese population. Data on relative risks were also from meta-analyses and large-scale prospective studies. Esophageal cancer mortality and incidence came from the 3rd national death cause survey and population-based cancer registries in China. We estimated that 87,065 esophageal cancer deaths (men 67,686; women: 19,379) and 108,206 cases (men: 83,968, women: 24,238) were attributable to tobacco smoking, alcohol drinking, low vegetable intake and low fruit intake in China in 2005. About 17.9% of esophageal cancer deaths among men and 1.9% among women were attributable to tobacco smoking. About 15.2% of esophageal cancer deaths in men and 1.3% in women were caused by alcohol drinking. Low vegetable intake was responsible for 4.3% esophageal cancer deaths in men and 4.1% in women. The fraction of esophageal cancer deaths attributable to low fruit intake was 27.1% in men and 28.0% in women. Overall, 46% of esophageal cancers (51% in men and 33% in women) were attributable to these four modifiable risk factors.
Tobacco smoking, alcohol drinking, low vegetable intake and low fruit intake were responsible for 46% of esophageal cancer mortality and incidence in China in 2005. These findings provide useful data for developing guidelines for esophageal cancer prevention and control in China.
Background and Objectives
Linxian in Henan Province, China, has among the highest rates of esophageal cancer worldwide. Little is known about long-term survival after esophagectomy for early neoplastic lesions found during early detection screening. A long-term survival analysis was performed for 315 patients from Linxian who received esophagectomy for early esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
Cases that received esophagectomy for early esophageal squamous cell carcinoma were age- and gender-matched with two healthy controls, and Kaplan-Meier survival analyses were performed for both groups.
10-year survival was 77% for cases and 64% for controls, and this difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.33). There were no significant differences in survival based on age or gender (p>0.05). Cases with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma-in-situ had significantly better survival than cases with invasive esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (p=0.035).
Survival of cases who received esophagectomy for early esophageal squamous cell carcinoma was not significantly different from survival of age- and gender-matched controls. Early intervention probably improved survival rates for these patients who otherwise would most likely have developed advanced esophageal carcinoma. Early screening and intervention are highly relevant in areas with a high risk of esophageal cancer such as Linxian, China.
Esophageal Cancer; Esophageal Surgery; Statistics; survival analysis
To provide an evidence-based and consistent assessment of the burden of cancer attributable to inadequate fruit and vegetable intake in China in 2005.
The proportions of cancers attributable to low consumption of vegetable and fruit were calculated separately to estimate the burden of related cancers for the year 2005 in China. Data on the prevalence of exposure were derived from a Chinese nutrition and health survey. Data on relative risks were mainly derived from meta-analysis. Attributable fractions were calculated based on the counterfactual scenario which was a shift in the exposure distribution.
The total cancer burden attributable to inadequate consumption of fruit was up to 233,000 deaths (13.0% of all cancers) and 300,000 cases (11.6% of all cancers) in 2005. Increasing consumption of vegetable to the highest quintile could avoid total cancer deaths and cases by 3.6% (64,000 persons) and 3.4% (88,000 persons). The contributions to cancer burden were higher in rural areas than in urban areas. They have greater influence on men than on women. The largest proportions of cancer burden attributable to low fruit and vegetable intake were for oral and pharyngeal cancers.
This study showed that inadequate intake of fruit and vegetable makes a significant contribution to the cancer burden. Increasing consumption of fruit and vegetable could prevent many cancer deaths and save many lives. Promoting the consumption of fruit and vegetable is an important component in diet-based strategies for preventing cancer.
Fruit; Vegetable; Cancer; Population attributable fraction; China
In 2005, a program named “Early Detection and Early Treatment of Esophageal and Cardiac Cancer” (EDETEC) was initiated in China. A total of 8279 residents aged 40–69 years old were recruited into the EDETEC program in Linzhou of Henan Province between 2005 and 2008. Howerer, the cost-benefit of the EDETEC program is not very clear yet. We conducted herein a cost-benefit analysis of screening for esophageal and cardiac cancer. The assessed costs of the EDETEC program included screening costs for each subject, as well as direct and indirect treatment costs for esophageal and cardiac severe dysplasia and cancer detected by screening. The assessed benefits of this program included the saved treatment costs, both direct and indirect, on esophageal and cardiac cancer, as well as the value of prolonged life due to screening, as determined by the human capital approach. The results showed the screening cost of finding esophageal and cardiac severe dysplasia or cancer ranged from ¥2707 to ¥4512, and the total cost on screening and treatment was ¥13 115–¥14 920. The cost benefit was ¥58 944–¥155 110 (the saved treatment cost, ¥17 730, plus the value of prolonged life, ¥41 214–¥137 380). The ratio of benefit-to-cost (BCR) was 3.95–11.83. Our results suggest that EDETEC has a high benefit-to-cost ratio in China and could be instituted into high risk areas of China.
Esophageal cancer; gastric cardiac cancer; screening; cost-benefit
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) exposure is a risk factor for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), and PAHs are ligands of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). This study measured the expression of AhR and related genes in frozen esophageal cell samples from patients exposed to different levels of indoor air pollution, who did or did not have high-grade squamous dysplasia (HGD), and who did or did not have a family history (FH) of upper gastrointestinal cancer (UGI Ca).
147 samples were evaluated, including 23 (16%) from patients with HGD and 48 (33%) from patients without DYS who heated their homes with coal, without a chimney (a “high” indoor air pollution group), and 27 (18%) from patients with HGD and 49 (33%) from patients without DYS who did not heat their homes at all (a “low” indoor air pollution group). Nearly half (64 (44%)) had a FH of UGI Ca. RNA was extracted and Quantitative-PCR analysis was performed.
AhR gene expression was detectable in 85 (58%) of the samples, and was more than 9-fold higher in those with a FH of UGI Ca (median expression (IQR) -1964 (-18000, -610) versus -18000 (-18000, -1036) Wilcoxon P = 0.02). Heating status, dysplasia category, age, gender, and smoking were not associated with AhR expression (linear regression, all P-values ≥0.1).
AhR expression was higher in patients with a FH of UGI Ca. Such individuals may be more susceptible to the deleterious effects of PAH exposure, including PAH-induced cancer.
Gastrointestinal tract cancer; Esophagus; Aryl hydrocarbon receptor; family history of cancer; gene expression; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
Squamous dysplasia is the precursor lesion for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), and nutritional factors play an important role in the etiology of this cancer. Previous studies using a variety of measures of vitamin D exposure have reached different conclusions about the association between vitamin D and risk of developing esophageal cancer.
We measured serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations in a cross-sectional analysis of 720 subjects from Linxian, China, a population at high risk for developing ESCC. All subjects underwent endoscopy and biopsy and were categorized by presence or absence of histologic squamous dysplasia. We used crude and multivariate adjusted generalized linear models to estimate the relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the association between squamous dysplasia and sex-specific quartiles of serum 25(OH)D concentration.
Two hundred and thirty (32%) of 720 subjects had squamous dysplasia. Subjects with dysplasia had significantly higher median serum 25(OH)D concentrations then subjects without dysplasia, 36.5 and 31.5 nmol/L respectively (Wilcoxon two-sample test p = 0.0004). In multivariate adjusted models, subjects in the highest compared to the lowest quartile were at significantly increased risk of squamous dysplasia, RR (95% CI) = 1.86 (1.35–2.62). Increased risks were similar when examined in men and women separately: Men RR (95% CI) = 1.74 (1.08–2.93); Women RR (95% CI) = 1.96 (1.28–3.18).
Higher serum 25(OH)D concentration was associated with significantly increased risk of squamous dysplasia. No obvious source of measured or unmeasured confounding explains this finding.
Esophageal cancer; Squamous dysplasia; Vitamin D; Serum 25(OH)D; China
Pepsinogens are a class of endopeptidases that are secreted by the gastric epithelium and released into the circulation. Low serum pepsinogen I (PGI) and low serum pepsinogen I / pepsinogen II ratio (PGI/II ratio) are markers of gastric fundic atrophy, and have recently been shown to be associated with increased risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). We conducted the current study to test whether these markers are also associated with esophageal squamous dysplasia (ESD), the precursor lesion of ESCC.
We measured serum PGI and PGII, using enzyme-linked immunosorbent (ELISA) assays, in 125 case subjects (patients with moderate or severe ESD) and 250 sex-matched control subjects (no ESD) selected from an endoscopic screening study in Linxian, China. We used conditional logistic regression models adjusted for age, smoking, and place of residence to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs).
Serum PGI showed no statistically significant association with ESD, whether analyzed as a dichotomous, ordinal (quartiles), or continuous variable. Lower serum PGI/II ratio, however, showed a dose-response association with increased risk of ESD, with an adjusted OR (95% CI) of 2.12 (1.08 − 4.18), comparing the lowest versus the highest quartile. The association between lower serum PGI/II ratio and log OR of ESD was nearly linear, and the p-value for the continuous association was 0.03.
Lower serum PGI/II ratio was linearly associated with higher risk of ESD. This result is consistent with recent findings that gastric atrophy may increase the risk of ESCC.
Esophageal cancer; Squamous dysplasia; Pepsinogen; China
The incidence of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is very high in northern China. This cancer has a very poor prognosis, mostly because it is usually diagnosed at a late stage. Detection an earlier stage can dramatically improve prognosis. Microscopic evaluation of esophageal balloon cytology (EBC) specimens has been the most common method for early detection of ESCC, but this technique is limited by low sensitivity and specificity. The use of molecular markers may improve these screening characteristics. This study evaluates whether measurement of gene methylation in EBC specimens may have utility for the detection of esophageal squamous dysplasia and early ESCC. We evaluated the presence of methylation in eight genes shown to be methylated in ESCC in previous studies in EBC specimens from 147 patients with endoscopic biopsy diagnoses ranging from normal mucosa through severe squamous dysplasia. Methylation status was determined using quantitative methylation-specific PCR techniques. The sensitivity and specificity of methylation of each individual gene and combinations of these genes to detect biopsy-proven high-grade (moderate or severe) squamous dysplasia was determined. For individual genes, the sensitivities ranged from 9–34% and the specificities ranged from 77–99%. Using a panel of four genes (AHRR, p16INK4a, MT1G, and CLDN3) resulted in sensitivity and specificity of 50% and 68%, respectively. This study suggests that evaluation of gene methylation in EBC samples may have utility for early detection of esophageal squamous dysplasia and early ESCC, however, identification of more sensitive methylation markers will be required for development of a clinically useful screening test.
gene methylation; early detection; cytology; esophageal squamous cell cancer