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Original research
International trends in oesophageal cancer survival by histological subtype between 1995 and 2014


Introduction Survival from oesophageal cancer remains poor, even across high-income countries. Ongoing changes in the epidemiology of the disease highlight the need for survival assessments by its two main histological subtypes, adenocarcinoma (AC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).

Methods The ICBP SURVMARK-2 project, a platform for international comparisons of cancer survival, collected cases of oesophageal cancer diagnosed 1995 to 2014, followed until 31st December 2015, from cancer registries covering seven participating countries with similar access to healthcare (Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and the UK). 1-year and 3-year age-standardised net survival alongside incidence rates were calculated by country, subtype, sex, age group and period of diagnosis.

Results 111 894 cases of AC and 73 408 cases of SCC were included in the analysis. Marked improvements in survival were observed over the 20-year period in each country, particularly for AC, younger age groups and 1 year after diagnosis. Survival was consistently higher for both subtypes in Australia and Ireland followed by Norway, Denmark, New Zealand, the UK and Canada. During 2010 to 2014, survival was higher for AC compared with SCC, with 1-year survival ranging from 46.9% (Canada) to 54.4% (Ireland) for AC and 39.6% (Denmark) to 53.1% (Australia) for SCC.

Conclusion Marked improvements in both oesophageal AC and SCC survival suggest advances in treatment. Less marked improvements 3 years after diagnosis, among older age groups and patients with SCC, highlight the need for further advances in early detection and treatment of oesophageal cancer alongside primary prevention to reduce the overall burden from the disease.

  • cancer epidemiology
  • cancer registries
  • oesophageal cancer
  • histopathology

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