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Source: Cancer Research UK  Feb 06, 2019  5 years, 2 months, 1 week, 6 days, 15 hours, 25 minutes ago

Identifying esophageal cancer genes leads to new drug targets

Identifying esophageal cancer genes leads to new drug targets
Source: Cancer Research UK  Feb 06, 2019  5 years, 2 months, 1 week, 6 days, 15 hours, 25 minutes ago

Mutations that cause esophageal adenocarcinoma (OAC) have been mapped in unprecedented detail -- unveiling that more than half could be targeted by drugs currently in trials for other cancer types.

Identifying esophageal cancer

This research, published  in Nature Genetics, could help stratify esophageal cancer patients to give them more personalised therapies. This could provide options not currently available to patients beyond standard chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery.

Cancer Research UK researchers at the University of Cambridge used whole genome sequencing and whole exome sequencing to map mutations in OAC, the main subtype of esophageal cancer in England.

In the study, driver mutations for OAC were found in 99% of patients and more than 50% were sensitive to drugs (CDK4/6 inhibitors) already in clinical trials for breast cancer. This means phase II/III clinical trials to treat esophageal cancer could be feasible in one to two years.

Interestingly, women were found to have more KRAS mutations than men. These mutations are often seen in other cancer types, but are rarely found in esophageal cancer. This could indicate a different sub-type of the disease in women and suggest they may have a different prognosis or be eligible for other treatments.

Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald, Cancer Research UK funded scientist and lead researcher at the MRC Cancer Unit, in an interview with Thailand Medical News ,said: "This research could completely shift the paradigm from giving esophageal cancer patients the same chemotherapy that we know doesn't always work, to more targeted treatments based on individual characteristics of a patient's cancer.

"We are now designing clinical trials that provide real-time analysis of patients' genes to offe