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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2011 Dec;40(6):1450-4; discussion 1454. doi: 10.1016/j.ejcts.2011.02.075. Epub 2011 May 4.

Esophageal adenocarcinoma arising after antireflux surgery: a population-based analysis.

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Division of General Thoracic and Esophageal Surgery, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.



Fundoplication is widely used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Whether it diminishes the development of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) is, however, controversial. Our aim was to define, at the national level in Finland, frequency and predisposing factors for post-fundoplication EAC.


For this population-based study from 1980 to 2006, Finland's administrative databases provided preliminary data. Analyses of EAC patient records (N = 1035) led us to include those with preceding antireflux surgery. Conservatively treated patients were not analyzed. The EAC incidence in patients with antireflux surgery was compared with that in the general population (1987-2006) by means of standardized incidence ratio (SIR).


A total of 53 (5.1%) EAC patients had undergone antireflux surgery. Of these patients with male predominance (74%), preoperatively 41 (77%) had developed endoscopic esophagitis, 40 (75%) hiatal hernia, 24 (45%) Barrett's esophagus (BE), nine (17%) ulcer in the esophagus or gastroesophageal junction, and three (6%) stricture. Postoperatively, histologically confirmed BE was present in 42 (79%). Antireflux surgery had preceded EAC at a mean interval of 10.1 years (range 0.5-25.6 years). This interval was significantly (p=0.02) shorter in patients with long-term functioning fundoplication (n = 15; 30%) at EAC diagnosis (6.4 years, range 0.5-15.2 years) than in those (n = 22, 44%) with failure (11.2 years, range 4.0-24.3 years). Overall, the SIR for EAC after antireflux surgery (1987-2006) was 9.21.


Intention-to-treat GERD with antireflux surgery does not prevent EAC. It often develops more than 5 years postoperatively, also in the patients with a good antireflux barrier. Only one-third of the patients had, however, a functioning fundoplication. Preoperative BE and endoscopic esophagitis may be risk factors. Prospective, long-term, randomized studies in experienced centers may reveal the definite effect of antireflux surgery on EAC development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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