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Major clinical study rejects cancer safety fears of most common heartburn treatment
Date:9/9/2009

either was there a change in the number of precancerous cells in either group.

While there had also been fears about how the treatments might affect people already suffering from BE, the study also showed that there was no evidence that this led to any worsening of the condition or any extra incidences of cancer.

BE is marked by changes in the cells of the oesophagus lining (squamous epithelium) that makes them more like the cells of the intestines (columnar epithelium). As well as increasing the risk of oesophageal cancer, the condition narrows the oesophagus and patients can experience pain whilst swallowing. The chance of cancer developing is proportional to the length of BE.

PPIs work by blocking the action of gastrin, a hormone that controls acid levels in the stomach, and is known to increase the normal movement of cells in the gastro-intestinal tract. Since PPI therapy increases the levels of gastrin in the body, it had been thought this could cause expansion of BE affected tissue, but this was not found to be the case: the scientists observed neither expansion or contraction of the abnormal tissue. This is concordant with current UK practice, where PPI therapy is currently only licensed to treat heartburn and 'oesophagitis' but not BE.


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Contact: Simon Levey
s.levey@qmul.ac.uk
44-207-882-5404
Queen Mary, University of London
Source:Eurekalert

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