There are two types of esophageal cancer: squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma is typically found in the upper to mid section of the esophagus. Adenocarcinoma is usually found in the lower part of the esophagus, near the stomach.
Esophageal adenocarcinoma is the most common type of esophageal cancer in the United States and has increased over 600% in the past decades making it the fastest growing cancer in the US.
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma is the most prevalent esophageal cancer worldwide.
According to research presented recently at the American Society for Radiation Oncology’s (ASTRO’s) 56th Annual Meeting, a blood test may be helpful in determining “neoadjuvant” treatments for patients who have been diagnosed with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
Neoadjuvant therapies are treatments that are usually given as a first step to shrink a cancerous tumor before the main treatment, which is most often surgery. Some examples of Neoadjuvant therapies are chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
The nine-year study showed that levels of two proteins found in the body can indicate patients’ pathological response and survival rates. Pathological response means how the tumor will be affected when the esophagus is examined after surgery.
“Through the utilization of a specific blood test of serum biomarkers, we could potentially predict if a patient will have a favorable pathological response and outcome before radiotherapy,” said senior study author Jason Cheng, MD, division chief of radiation oncology at National Taiwan University Hospital and professor at National Taiwan University College of Medicine in Taipei, Taiwan.
As one of the deadliest cancers, esophageal cancer has an overall 5 year survival rate of only 17.5%. Stage IV esophageal cancer has a survival rate of only 3.8%.
Research studies such as this are imperative to modifying treatment plans for patients based on their individual diagnoses. Furthermore, this allows for increased chances of recuperation after surgery, higher survival rates and fewer side effects.
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Sources: Blood Test May Determine Treatment for Esophageal Cancer |EndoNurse Neoadjuvant Therapy – NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms | National Cancer Institute Esophageal Cancer Treatment & Management Author: Keith M Baldwin, DO; Chief Editor: Jules E Harris, MD, et. Al