Background: The aim of this study was to determine whether the incidence of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus and esophagogastric junction in a well-defined population was higher than previously recognized. Methods: Clinical records and original histological slides from patients residing in Olmsted County, Minnesota, were reviewed and compared with a previous study in the same population. Results: The incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma rose from 0.13 for 1935-1971 to 0.74 for 1974-1989, and the incidence of adenocarcinoma of the esophagogastric junction rose from 0.25 to 1.34 per 100,000 personyears. Histological review of preserved surgical specimens showed associated intestinal metaplasia (Barrett's esophagus) in 2 of 2 esophageal and in 5 of 9 esophagogastric adenocarcinomas. Conclusions: The incidence of adenocarcinoma in each location increased five to sixfold compared with the earlier study. This increase could not be explained by improved diagnostic methods or classification changes. The association with Barrett's esophagus and the parallel increased incidence of cancer in each location is evidence that adenocarcinoma of the esophagus and of the esophagogastric junction are related disorders.
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