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Original research
Global burden of oesophageal and gastric cancer by histology and subsite in 2018
  1. Melina Arnold1,
  2. Jacques Ferlay1,
  3. Mark I van Berge Henegouwen2,
  4. Isabelle Soerjomataram1
  1. 1 Section of Cancer Surveillance, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France
  2. 2 Department of Surgery, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Cancer Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr Melina Arnold, Section of Cancer Surveillance, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon 69008, France; arnoldm{at}


Objectives To provide updated estimates of the global burden of oesophageal and gastric cancer by subsite and type.

Methods Using data from population-based cancer registries, proportions of oesophageal adenocarcinoma (OAC) and squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) out of all oesophageal as well as cardia gastric cancer (CGC) and non-CGC (NCGC) out of all gastric cancer cases were computed by country, sex and age group. Proportions were subsequently applied to the estimated numbers of oesophageal and gastric cancer cases from GLOBOCAN 2018. Age-standardised incidence rates (ASR) were calculated.

Results In 2018, there were an estimated 572 000 new cases of oesophageal cancer worldwide, 85 000 OACs (ASR 0.9 per 100 000, both sexes combined) and 482 000 OSCCs (ASR 5.3). Out of 1.03 million gastric cancers, there were an estimated 181 000 cases of CGC (ASR 2.0) and 853 000 cases of NCGC (ASR 9.2). While the highest incidence rates of OSCC, CGC and NCGC were observed in Eastern Asia (ASRs 11.1, 4.4 and 17.9, respectively), rates of OAC were highest in Northern Europe (ASR 3.5). While globally OSCC and NCGC remain the most common types of oesophageal and gastric cancer, respectively, rates of OAC exceed those of OSCC in an increasing number of high-income countries.

Conclusions These updated estimates of the global burden of oesophageal and gastric cancer by subtype and site suggest an ongoing transition in epidemiological patterns. This work will serve as a cornerstone for policy-making and will aid in developing appropriate cancer control strategies.

  • gastric cancer
  • oesophageal cancer
  • epidemiology
  • histopathology
  • cancer prevention
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  • Contributors Study concept and design: MA, JF and IS. Analysis and interpretation of data: all authors. Drafting the manuscript: MA and IS. Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: all authors.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Disclaimer Where authors are identified as personnel of the International Agency for Research on Cancer/WHO, the authors alone are responsible for the views expressed in this article and they do not necessarily represent the decisions, policy or views of the International Agency for Research on Cancer/WHO.

  • Competing interests MIvBH reports acting as consultant for Medtronic, Johnson & Johnson and Mylan as well as grants from Olympus en Stryker, outside the submitted work.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available in a public, open access repository. Data are available on and on

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