Researchers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA, and the University of Southern California, USA, found that the APC gene was deactivated in 92 per cent of patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma. The gene plays a role in the suppression of cancer.
The APC gene was deactivated in 92% of patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma.
Deactivated genes were also found in 50 per cent of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus, and 40 per cent of patients with Barrett's esophagus.
The researchers, led by Professor Stephen Meltzer, director of the aerodigestive oncology programme, of the University of Maryland, have now developed a blood test for the altered gene.
Professor Meltzer said, "When high levels of the altered gene were found in the bloodstream, the survival rate was poor. Conversely, the prognosis improves dramatically for patients with low or undetectable blood levels of the altered gene.
"We hope our research will ultimately help improve the quality of life for those who suffer from esophageal cancer and eventually lead to better methods of early detection and treatment."
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