LAS VEGAS, Oct. 23 -- A diet heavy in carbohydrates might tip the scales in favor of a cascade of factors that lead to esophageal cancer, according to a study reported here.
The study, reported by Vijay S. Khiani, M.D., of Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, and colleagues, was reported at the American College of Gastroenterology meeting. The investigators found an association between the rising incidence of esophageal cancer in the U.S. and the increase in U.S. per-capita carbohydrate consumption over the past three decades.
Dr. Khiani and colleagues analyzed esophageal cancer incidence derived from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program from 1973 through 2001. The researchers also obtained data on American per-capita carbohydrate intake during the same time from the National Nutrient Data Bank, a program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Although the epidemiological data could not prove a causal link, Dr. Khiani noted that a carbohydrate-heavy diet can lead to obesity, which is known to predispose individuals to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This, in turn, has been linked to a greater likelihood for developing Barrett's esophagus, a precursor to lower-esophageal adenocarcinoma.