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Am Surg. 2004 Nov;70(11):954-8.

Esophageal adenocarcinoma in patients < or = 50 years old: delayed diagnosis and advanced disease at presentation.

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Division of Thoracic & Foregut Surgery, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA.


During the past decade, we encountered an increasing number of young patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma. It is not clear whether young patients have more aggressive course and worse prognosis. Our aim was to compare clinicopathological characteristics/treatment results of patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma who were < or = 50 and > 50 years of age. We studied 263 consecutive patients with resectable esophageal adenocarcinoma: 32 (12.1%) were < or = 50 years old. Dysphagia was present in 69 per cent of patients < or = 50 years old and in 48 per cent of older patients (P = 0.019). The median duration of dysphagia was 3.5 months in younger patients compared to 2 months in patients > 50 years (P < 0.0001). Seven of 22 (31.8%) young and three of 108 (2.8%) older patients with dysphagia reported dysphagia for > or = 6 months (P < 0.0001). Fifty per cent of younger patients were stage III/IV and > 70 per cent were node positive (P = 0.04 and P = 0.02 vs patients > 50 years, respectively). Five-year survival was 32.6 per cent for < or = 50 years and 45.5 per cent for > 50 years. More than 10 per cent of esophageal adenocarcinoma patients undergoing surgery are now < or = 50 years of age. They usually present with dysphagia, are symptomatic for a longer time before diagnosis, and have more advanced disease compared to older patients. With appropriate aggressive treatment, survival is similar. Liberal use of endoscopy and aggressive diagnostic approach are paramount in young patients with dysphagia/symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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