What’s new in esophagus cancer research?
Research on the causes, prevention and treatment of this cancer is now being done at many places across the nation.
Research has found that certain gene changes are more common in people with Barrett’s esophagus. Once more is known about this, we might be able design new tests for finding the people who are likely to get Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer earlier, so that these problems can be prevented. Knowing about these changes may also lead to new targeted treatments that overcome the effects of these abnormal genes.
Screening and prevention
The rate of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus has risen sharply in recent decades. Efforts are now being made to reduce obesity, a major risk factor for this form of cancer (and several other types as well).
In people with Barrett’s esophagus, researchers are trying to find out if newer tests can tell which patients are likely to go on to develop cancer. This may help doctors decide which patients need intense follow-up and which ones may be examined less often.
Researchers are also looking for ways to help stop Barrett’s cells from turning into pre-cancer or cancer. Drugs such as proton pump inhibitors (that lower stomach acid) and aspirin are now being studied for this purpose. There are many proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole (Prilosec®) and lansoprazole (Prevacid®).
Many studies are being done on new ways to combine chemotherapy drugs to get the best results. Drugs that target certain substances in the cancer cell are becoming available. This is known as targeted therapy and it has been successful in some other cancers. It is now being tested in esophagus cancer.
Last Medical Review: 12/26/2012
Last Revised: 12/26/2012