Researchers at Brown University in Providence, RI, have found that patients reporting a history of frequent heartburn had a significantly elevated risk of laryngopharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (LPSCC), according to a new study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.
Explore this issue:July 2013
The study included 631 patients with LPSCC, 468 of whom had pharyngeal cancer and 163 with vocal laryngeal cancers. Additionally, 1,234 individuals with no history of cancer were included as controls.
Participants completed a questionnaire detailing their sociodemographic information, and history of smoking, alcohol consumption and heartburn. After adjusting for age, gender, race, smoking, alcohol consumption, HPV16 seropositivity, education and body mass index, the researchers found that participants who weren’t heavy smokers or drinkers and who had a history of frequent heartburn were linked to a 78 percent increased risk of LPSCC, compared with the control group.
Additionally, researchers found that antacids had a protective effect, resulting in a 41 percent reduced risk of LPSCC.
“Additional studies are needed to validate the chemopreventive effects of antacids among patients with frequent heartburn,” said Scott M. Langevin, PhD, postdoctoral research fellow at Brown University and lead author of the study. “The identification of gastric reflux as a risk factor for throat and vocal cord cancers, however, may have implications in terms of risk stratification and identification of high-risk patients.”