Background: The clinical and biological characteristics of metachronous esophageal squamous cell cancer (ESCC) after gastrectomy for gastric cancer have yet to be sufficiently elucidated. The aim of the present study was to examine carcinogenesis in such patients. Methods: Subjects comprised 11 patients with metachronous carcinoma in whom ESCC occurred after gastric cancer (metachronous ESCC), 9 patients with simultaneously occurring gastric cancer and ESCC (simultaneous ESCC) and 52 patients with ESCC alone. We investigated the clinicopathological findings and biological properties using p53, p21 and cyclin D1 expression. Results: The positive rate for the intraepithelial spread of tumor was higher for metachronous ESCC than for simultaneous ESCC (p < 0.05). The number of dysplastic lesions in metachronous ESCC, simultaneous ESCC and ESCC alone was 56, 41 and 44, respectively. The rate of positive p53 expression in dysplasia was significantly higher for metachronous ESCC than for ESCC alone (p = 0.03). Conclusions: Positive expression of p53 was found in not only the primary tumor, but also intraepithelial neoplasia around the tumor in metachronous ESCC. Chronic gastroesophageal reflux due to gastrectomy may be involved in the process of carcinogenesis in addition to environmental and genetic factors for metachronous ESCC. Further studies of a larger number of patients with metachronous ESCC and a history of gastrectomy are warranted.
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