Clinical and endoscopic characteristics associated with post-endoscopy upper gastrointestinal cancers: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Leo Alexandre, Theo Tsilegeridis-Legeris, Stephen Lam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)


Background & aims: Ten percent of patients with an upper gastrointestinal cancer will have received an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) within 3 years before diagnosis, termed post-endoscopy upper gastrointestinal cancers (PEUGIC). We aimed to determine the characteristics of PEUGIC, and compare these with detected cancers. 

Methods: We searched MEDLINE and Embase from inception for studies comparing the characteristics of PEUGIC and detected upper gastrointestinal cancers, and reported findings at the initial “cancer-negative” endoscopy. We synthesized results using random effects meta-analysis. This review is registered on PROSPERO, CRD42019125780. 

Results: A total of 2696 citations were screened and 25 studies were included, comprising 81,184 UGI cancers, of which 7926 were considered PEUGIC. For PEUGIC assessed within 6 to 36 months of a “cancer-negative” EGD, the mean interval was approximately 17 months. Patients with PEUGIC were less likely to present with dysphagia (odds ratio [OR] 0.37) and weight loss (OR 0.58) and were more likely to present with gastroesophageal reflux (OR 2.64) than detected cancers. PEUGICs were more common in women in Western populations (OR 1.30). PEUGICs were typically smaller at diagnosis and associated with less advanced disease staging compared with detected cancers (OR 2.87 for stage 1 vs 2–4). Most EGDs (>75%) were abnormal preceding diagnosis of PEUGIC. 

Conclusions: There is a substantial delay in the diagnosis of PEUGIC. They are less likely to present with alarm symptoms than detected cancers. PEUGICs are overall less advanced at diagnosis. Most patients with PEUGIC have abnormalities reported at the preceding “cancer-negative” EGD. The epidemiology of PEUGIC may inform preventive strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1123-1135
Number of pages13
Issue number4
Early online date25 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • Missed Lesions
  • PEEC
  • PEGC
  • Quality Indicators

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