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International variation in oesophageal and gastric cancer survival 2012–2014: differences by histological subtype and stage at diagnosis (an ICBP SURVMARK-2 population-based study)


Objective To provide the first international comparison of oesophageal and gastric cancer survival by stage at diagnosis and histological subtype across high-income countries with similar access to healthcare.

Methods As part of the ICBP SURVMARK-2 project, data from 28 923 patients with oesophageal cancer and 25 946 patients with gastric cancer diagnosed during 2012–2014 from 14 cancer registries in seven countries (Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and the UK) were included. 1-year and 3-year age-standardised net survival were estimated by stage at diagnosis, histological subtype (oesophageal adenocarcinoma (OAC) and oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC)) and country.

Results Oesophageal cancer survival was highest in Ireland and lowest in Canada at 1 (50.3% vs 41.3%, respectively) and 3 years (27.0% vs 19.2%) postdiagnosis. Survival from gastric cancer was highest in Australia and lowest in the UK, for both 1-year (55.2% vs 44.8%, respectively) and 3-year survival (33.7% vs 22.3%). Most patients with oesophageal and gastric cancer had regional or distant disease, with proportions ranging between 56% and 90% across countries. Stage-specific analyses showed that variation between countries was greatest for localised disease, where survival ranged between 66.6% in Australia and 83.2% in the UK for oesophageal cancer and between 75.5% in Australia and 94.3% in New Zealand for gastric cancer at 1-year postdiagnosis. While survival for OAC was generally higher than that for OSCC, disparities across countries were similar for both histological subtypes.

Conclusion Survival from oesophageal and gastric cancer varies across high-income countries including within stage groups, particularly for localised disease. Disparities can partly be explained by earlier diagnosis resulting in more favourable stage distributions, and distributions of histological subtypes of oesophageal cancer across countries. Yet, differences in treatment, and also in cancer registration practice and the use of different staging methods and systems, across countries may have impacted the comparisons. While primary prevention remains key, advancements in early detection research are promising and will likely allow for additional risk stratification and survival improvements in the future.

  • epidemiology
  • oesophageal cancer
  • surveillance

Data availability statement

No data are available.

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