Demographic and lifestyle factors, in particular tobacco smoking and alcohol, are well established causes of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC); however, little is known about the effect of these factors on survival. We included all 301 patients with incident ESCC, recruited into a population-based case-control study of esophageal cancer in Australia. Detailed information about demographic and lifestyle factors was obtained at diagnosis, and deaths were identified using the National Death Index. Median follow-up for all-cause mortality was 6.4 years. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated from Cox proportional hazards models, adjusted for age, sex, pretreatment AJCC tumor stage, treatment and presence of comorbidities. Two hundred and thirteen patients (71%) died during follow-up. High lifetime alcohol consumption was independently associated with poor survival. Relative to life-long nondrinkers and those consuming <1 drink/week, the HRs for those with average consumption of 7-20 drinks/week or ≥21 drinks/week were 2.21 (95% CI = 1.27-3.84) and 2.08 (95% CI = 1.18-3.69), respectively. There was a suggestion of worse survival among current smokers (HR = 1.42, 95% CI 5 0.89-2.28); however, the risk of early death was greatest among current smokers who reported regularly (≥7 drinks/week) consuming alcohol (HR = 3.84, 95% CI = 2.02-7.32). Other lifestyle factors putatively associated with risk of developing ESCC were not associated with survival. In addition to increasing disease risk, heavy alcohol consumption may be independently associated with worse survival among patients with ESCC. Future clinical follow-up studies should consider alcohol as a potential prognosticator, in addition to known clinicopathologic factors.
- Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma
- Lifestyle factors
- Tobacco smoking