Researchers from Singapore and China find a new esophageal cancer biomarker

Researchers in Singapore and China are putting into play a new biomarker that appears to help spot a common form of esophageal cancer. It also enables clinicians to identify patients with the disease facing dicey survival prospects.

Oncology Nurse Advisor reported on the research, and the journal Cancer Research published study details.

It turns out that ADAR1 (known as an RNA-editing enzyme) multiplies in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, which is the most common form of the disease. As well, clinicians linked high ADAR1 levels to shorter survival times, according to the story.

Clinicians could use a new biomarker for esophageal cancer, considering, as the story noted, that survival rates for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma are painfully low--between 20% and 30%. A reliable biomarker is an important way to enable earlier diagnosis, plus quicker and more precise treatment. Both, in turn, can boost patient survival rates, the article explained.

A need to improve esophageal cancer survival rates has spurred research in a number of other areas. Texas-based Castle Biosciences, for example, is now marketing a multibiomarker diagnostic test that helps predict whether esophageal cancer patients will be resistant to standard chemoradiation therapy prior to surgery. Nearly a year ago, scientists from the Imperial College of London developed a way to identify gastroesophageal cancer biomarkers in the gas given off by urine samples, using a sealed specimen cup and a mass spectrometer. Meanwhile, a team at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and colleagues say they've found microRNA expression signatures that physicians can use to monitor the advance of Barrett's esophagus into esophageal cancer.

The Singapore/China team is far from finished with its work. More research is needed to support their initial findings, and they plan as much, with a focus on how to silence ADAR1 and treat the disease.

- read the full story
- here's the journal abstract

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