Home » Articles » 'Born to be benign' cells could help in identifying oesophageal cancer at early stage

'Born to be benign' cells could help in identifying oesophageal cancer at early stage


A recent study has revealed some cells they are ‘born to be bad “could be identified from the start, avoiding the need for repeated endoscopies.

Barrett’s esophagus, a common condition that affects an estimated 1.5 million people in the UK alone involves people normal cells in the esophagus (food pipe) being replaced by an unusual type of cell called Barrett’s esophagus, and is believed to be a consequence of chronic reflux (heartburn).

with Barrett’s esophagus are at increased risk of developing esophageal cancer. Although the risk of overall lifetime of developing esophageal cancer in people with Barrett’s esophagus is significant, most patients with Barrett’s esophagus do not develop cancer in their lifetime.

Although there is currently no easy way to distinguish between patients with Barrett’s esophagus high and low risk, periodic surveillance endoscopy is the best way to prevent cancer and know about it.

A test based on the genetic makeup of injuries Barrett could benefit patients by improving diagnosis, giving people at high risk for the best care cancer, and reducing endoscopy burden for those at low risk.

Trevor Graham, the Cancer Institute Barts QMUL said: “We have shown that lesions of the esophagus in some Barrett ‘born to be bad” – and conversely some are’ born to be benign ‘ once these results are validated in other patients and for longer periods. time, we can confidently say that people with benign form can save endoscopy and unnecessary worries.

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This will dramatically improve the quality of life of people with Barrett’s esophagus, and provide substantial cost savings health professionals. “

The team followed more than 300 patients with Barrett’s esophagus over three years and about 50,000 cells was analyzed in the process. Genetic analysis of individual cells was performed and measure diversity genetics in each lesion to track over time.

the results validate the discovery of an earlier group that the extent of genetic diversity between cells Barrett in any injury given is a good predictor of the that patients have a high risk of developing cancer.

in addition, the team found no significant changes in genetic diversity during the three years that patients were followed. This suggests that genetic diversity between cells Barrett a person is essentially fixed over time, and mutations have little impact on the development of the injury.

Each time tests Barrett someone, their future risk you can predict regardless of why it is so soon after the onset of abnormal cells.

Graham said: “Our findings are important because they imply that the risk of developing esophageal cancer a person is fixed over time In other words, we can predict from the beginning, that patients with Barrett’s esophagus divided into a group at high risk of developing cancer. – And that the risk does not change after that, “

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the study is published in Nature Communications..

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