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Researchers present findings on promising biomarker for esophageal cancer
Date:5/5/2014

CLEVELAND A new biomarker for esophageal cancer shows promise in improving screening for this deadly disease and its precursor, Barrett's esophagus.

Amitabh Chak, MD, of University Hospitals Case Medical Center's Seidman Cancer Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, presented findings today at Digestive Disease Week in Chicago in a research forum titled "Aberrant Vimentin Methylation in Esophageal Brushings: A Biomarker for Detecting Barrett's Esophagus and Esophageal Adenocarcinoma" (embargoed May 5, 9:15 am CT).

Dr. Chak and a research team found that a change in the DNA, methylation of the vimentin gene, can be an effective new less-invasive test for detecting Barrett's esophagus (BE). In 117 patients, they examined if a new, non-endoscopic "brushing" of the esophagus is as effective as the more invasive, traditional biopsy.

Affecting up to 6.8 percent of the population, BE is a leading predictor of esophageal cancer. Compared with the general population, patients with BE have an 11-fold higher risk of developing adenocarcinoma of the esophagus.

"Despite the fact that the rates of common cancers have declined in recent years, esophageal cancer has a poor five-year survival rate of less than 15 percent," said Dr. Chak. "Early detection through screening can prevent the development of esophageal cancer. This promising new test has important clinical implications through its potential to improve screening and decrease mortality from this deadly disease."

The research builds upon previous work by the team that aberrant vimentin methylation is a highly common epigenetic alteration in neoplasia of the upper gastrointestinal tract. In this study, they analyzed esophageal specimens in patients with BE, esophageal cancer as well as control subjects. The data determined that methylated vimentin is a highly sensitive biomarker for Barrett's esophagus and that the less invasive brushing technique ca
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Contact: Alicia Reale
alicia.reale@uhhospitals.org
University Hospitals Case Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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