Esophageal Squamous Cell Cancer: Pathogenesis and Epidemiology

  • Daniel Tong
  • Simon LawEmail author


Esophageal cancer is a highly lethal disease. Despite the rapidly increasing incidence of adenocarcinoma in last decades, squamous cell carcinoma remains the predominant cell type worldwide. The majority of squamous cell cancers are from Eastern populations. Risk factors for the development of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma differ between high and low incidence regions. Tobacco and alcohol intake are the two major risks factors for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. They also have a synergistic effect; the mechanism of which is now better understood. Other dietary factors include lack of certain micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals, consumption of food with carcinogenic ingredients, eating habits and food preservation methods. Genetic factors, viral infection and other premalignant conditions also play a role. Studying epidemiology and pathogenesis of the disease allows policymakers to enact public health policies to prevent the disease through health education and risk factors avoidance. Screening for early disease detection in high-risk populations could improve overall outcome.


Squamous cell cancer Esophageal cancer Epidemiology Pathogenesis Tobacco Alcohol 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Esophageal and Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery, Department of SurgeryThe University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary HospitalHong KongChina

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