Discovery holds promise for a new oesophageal cancer screening test

Published: Comments:
Health & Wellness Lifestyle Science & Research

Social:   

One of Australia’s most deadly cancers could in future be detected earlier, and with a simple blood test, thanks to research from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.

Scientists have identified a group of proteins that are highly accurate at detecting a common form of oesophageal cancer in its earliest stages.

The markers could be used to develop a screening test for oesophageal adenocarcinoma, which would save lives by detecting more of the cancers at an earlier stage.

The project was led by the head of the Precision and Systems Biomedicine Laboratory, Associate Professor Michelle Hill, in collaboration with other QIMR Berghofer scientists and researchers from Australia and the United States.

“The problem with oesophageal cancer is that many patients don’t show symptoms, so it is usually not diagnosed until very late,” Associate Professor Hill said.

“Tragically, most patients don’t survive for more than a year after diagnosis. However, when it is diagnosed early, oesophageal cancer is treatable.

“At the moment oesophageal cancer is screened for and detected via an endoscopy. However, endoscopies are expensive and their use as a screening method carries some risks.

“We hope to use this group of proteins – which are present in the blood of oesophageal cancer patients – to develop a simple, cost-effective, early screening test for oesophageal adenocarcinoma. Patients who test positive could then be given an endoscopy to confirm and diagnose the cancer.

“This would mean more oesophageal cancers would be detected at an early stage, which would save lives.

“It is similar to the current process for bowel cancer, where certain sections of the population are screened via a faecal blood test and positive or high-risk patients are given colonoscopies.”

Cancer Australia estimates that in 2018, 1685 Australians will be diagnosed with oesophageal cancer and 1447 will die from it. Rates of the disease are on the rise. Oesophageal adenocarcinomas account for approximately half of all oesophageal cancer cases in Australia.

Associate Professor Hill’s team developed a new method to identify the markers, and conducted a study to validate the results.

“We tested more than 300 blood samples from patients in Australia and the US with either Barrett’s oesophagus, early-stage cancer, or more advanced oesophageal adenocarcinoma,” she said.

“The data showed that monitoring blood levels of these 10 proteins can provide an accurate indication of the presence of oesophageal cancer.

“Importantly, the marker levels start to change when Barrett’s oesophagus – a precursor condition to oesophageal cancer – starts to turn into cancer. These promising results suggest that the markers can accurately detect the cancer from an early stage.”

The findings have been published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Proteomics.

 
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute :
PO Royal Brisbane Hospital, Brisbane, QLD, 4029, Brisbane
07 3845 3752
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
Showing 10+ recent articles for this business
Safer bone marrow transplants for blood cancer patients a step closer 15 February 2019 | Queensland researchers have conducted Australia’s first clinical trial using genetically engineered immune cells to make bone marrow transplantation for blood cancer safer. More information...
New study finds hysterectomies reduce the risk of ovarian cancer in some women 12 February 2019 | A new study by QIMR Berghofer researchers has found women who suffer from endometriosis or uterine fibroids and who undergo hysterectomies have a significantly lower risk of developing ovarian cancer than those... More information...
Australia’s melanoma rates once again highest in the world 07 February 2019 | Australia has regained the unenviable title of having the world’s highest rates of invasive melanoma. More information...
Peak health bodies recommend new approach to sunscreen use 25 January 2019 | The peak bodies responsible for sun safety advice in Australia and New Zealand have adopted a new policy on sunscreen use, recommending that people apply it daily as part of a regular morning routine. More information...
Study gives hope for preventing life-threatening viral infections in transplant patients 18 January 2019 | Australian researchers have made a breakthrough in understanding how a common herpes virus reactivates and causes life-threatening complications in patients with compromised immune systems. More information...
Queensland scientists create functioning human muscle in a dish 10 December 2018 | QIMR Berghofer researchers have created functioning miniature human skeletal muscle – a move that will accelerate research into muscle disease and treatments. More information...
Discovery holds promise for a new oesophageal cancer screening test 04 December 2018 | One of Australia’s most deadly cancers could in future be detected earlier, and with a simple blood test, thanks to research from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. More information...
QIMR Berghofer helps map the genetic makeup of disease-spreading mosquito 22 November 2018 | QIMR Berghofer scientists have helped map the most complete genetic picture of the potentially deadly Aedes aegypti mosquito. More information...
Clinical trial finds new immunotherapy improves MS symptoms 20 November 2018 | A world-first clinical trial of a new cellular immunotherapy for multiple sclerosis (MS) has found that it improved symptoms and quality of life for the majority of patients. More information...
Born with a taste for coffee or tea 15 November 2018 | If you have a taste for coffee and want to drink a lot of it, you were probably born that way. More information...



Social:   
comments powered by Disqus

All articles submitted by third parties or written by My Sunshine Coast come under our Disclaimer / Terms of Service