New research carried out by the Fitzgerald group has identified two promising novel biomarkers for the early detection and treatment of oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (OESCC). Oesophageal cancer (OC) is a disease with a poor prognosis. The 5-year survival rate for oesophageal cancer is less than 10% in developing countries, where more than 90% of these cancers as OESCC. There is therefore an urgent need to identify new biomarkers for OESCC, with the potential to enhance the accuracy of patient diagnosis for prevention and/or treatment.
Prof Fitzgeralds group used a publicly available cDNA dataset to identify 800 genes, which had altered expression in OESCC, relative to normal oesophagus. Validations of initial findings were carried out using qPCR (gene expression) and immunohistochemistry (tissue protein expression). Twenty genes were found to be significantly overexpressed in OESCC, relative to normal epithelium. Of these, TNFAIP3 and CHN1 showed significantly altered tissue expression across the sequence to OESCC.
This study therefore identified biomarkers (TNFAIP3 and CHN1) for oesophageal squamous dysplasia and OESCC. The next step would involve a clinical study to assess the efficacy of TNFAIP3 and CHN1 as diagnostic biomarkers for OESCC. These biomakers could also help in the identification of patients with moderate/severe dysplasia that would benefit from preventative treatments.
Couch G, Redman J, Wernisch L, Newton R, Malhotra, Dawsey S, Lao-Sirieix P, Fitzgerald RC. The discovery and validation of biomarkers for the diagnosis of esophageal squamous dysplasia and squamous cell carcinoma. Cancer Prev Res. 12 April 2016.
Further information on research carried out in the Fitzgerald group can be found here.