Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine vol:129 issue:2 pages:183-185
Over time the relative distribution of cancers of the proximal digestive tract has changed. Squamous cell carcinomas of the esophagus have become less common, while numbers of adenocarcinomas have greatly increased. This shift most likely reflects an increase in the incidence of gastroesophageal reflux. Moreover, there is a decline in the incidence of distal gastric cancer, which in turn may be related to Heliobacter pylori eradication. Simultaneously, there is a time trend toward a more proximal localization of gastric cancer. If the above-mentioned etiopathologic links are correct, this could indicate that the so-called cardia adenocarcinomas are not related to H pylori infection and that they may instead be related to gastroesophageal reflux and eventually may not be considered to be "gastric" cancers. The rapidly growing quantity of literature on this subject is, however, confounding. A major source of discordance would seem to be a Babylonian confusion of tongues concerning the terms cardia and cardiac carcinomas. Unfortunately, this confusion is also apparent in the classification systems available for staging of cancer, thus closing the "vicious" circle.