PURPOSE - Although risk factors for squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus and adenocarcinomas of the esophagus (EA), gastric cardia (GC), and other (noncardia) gastric (OG) sites have been identified, little is known about interactions among risk factors. We sought to examine interactions of diet, other lifestyle, and medical factors with risks of subtypes of esophageal and gastric cancers.
METHODS - We used classification tree analysis to analyze data from a population-based case-control study (1095 cases, 687 controls) conducted in Connecticut, New Jersey, and western Washington State.
RESULTS - Frequency of reported gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms was the most important risk stratification factor for EA, GC, and OG, with dietary factors (EA, OG), smoking (EA, GC), wine intake (GC, OG), age (OG), and income (OG) appearing to modify the risk of these cancer sites. For esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, smoking was the most important risk stratification factor, with gastroesophageal reflux disease, income, race, noncitrus fruit, and energy intakes further modifying risk.
CONCLUSION - Various combinations of risk factors appear to interact to affect risk of each cancer subtype. Replication of these data mining analyses are required before suggesting causal pathways; however, the classification tree results are useful in partitioning risk and mapping multilevel interactions among risk variables.
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