Nav: Home

Stomach cells may give rise to esophageal cancer

January 17, 2012

A new study is providing clues that may answer a decades-old question about the cells that give rise to a particularly lethal form of esophageal cancer. The research, published by Cell Press in the January 17th issue of the journal Cancer Cell, links inflammation and bile acid reflux with migration of cancer-causing stomach cells into the esophagus and may help guide future strategies for early therapeutic intervention.

Esophageal adenocarcinoma is a cancer of the esophagus that is associated with acid reflux disease and Barrett esophagus (BE). BE is characterized by abnormal changes in the cells that line the lower esophagus, very close to the junction with the stomach. In BE, the normal flat esophageal cells are replaced by taller cells resembling those that line the stomach or intestine. Previous research has suggested that BE may be caused by acid reflux disease and chronic inflammation, but many questions about the disease remain unanswered.

"The precise origin of both esophageal adenocarcinoma and BE has been difficult to discern, in part because of the absence of useful experimental model systems that are genetically based," explains study author Dr. Timothy C. Wang, from Columbia University. "A major unanswered question that has been debated for decades is whether BE cells originate from the lining of the esophagus itself or from the region of the stomach called the cardia that is adjacent to the esophagus."

Dr. Wang, coauthor Dr. Michael Quante from the Technical University of Munich, and colleagues used a transgenic mouse model of BE and adenocarcinoma that closely resembles human disease to explore the pathogenesis of the disease. The mice were engineered to express a specific molecule (interleukin-1) associated with chronic esophageal inflammation. The researchers discovered that inflammation and bile acid caused immature cells from the cardia to migrate to the esophagus and give rise to the taller "columnar" cells characteristic of BE. They went on to identify the specific signaling pathway that appeared to regulate differentiation of the cardia cells into columnar cells, and that was associated with the origination of cancer in mice and humans.

Taken together, the findings suggest that the abnormal cells associated with BE and esophageal adenocarcinoma actually originate in the cardia of the stomach and not the esophagus. "The fact that BE always begins precisely at the junction where the esophagus meets the stomach has never been explained, and now it seems clear that special consideration should be given to inflammation of the gastric cardia as it may represent a precursor of BE and esophageal adenocarcinoma," concludes Dr. Wang.
-end-


Cell Press

Related Cancer Articles:

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.
More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.
New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.
American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.
Oncotarget: Cancer pioneer employs physics to approach cancer in last research article
In the cover article of Tuesday's issue of Oncotarget, James Frost, MD, PhD, Kenneth Pienta, MD, and the late Donald Coffey, Ph.D., use a theory of physical and biophysical symmetry to derive a new conceptualization of cancer.
Health indicators for newborns of breast cancer survivors may vary by cancer type
In a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers from the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center analyzed health indicators for children born to young breast cancer survivors in North Carolina.
Few women with history of breast cancer and ovarian cancer take a recommended genetic test
More than 80 percent of women living with a history of breast or ovarian cancer at high-risk of having a gene mutation have never taken the test that can detect it.
Radiotherapy for invasive breast cancer increases the risk of second primary lung cancer
East Asian female breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy have a higher risk of developing second primary lung cancer.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Accessing Better Health
Essential health care is a right, not a privilege ... or is it? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can give everyone access to a healthier way of life, despite who you are or where you live. Guests include physician Raj Panjabi, former NYC health commissioner Mary Bassett, researcher Michael Hendryx, and neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#544 Prosperity Without Growth
The societies we live in are organised around growth, objects, and driving forward a constantly expanding economy as benchmarks of success and prosperity. But this growing consumption at all costs is at odds with our understanding of what our planet can support. How do we lower the environmental impact of economic activity? How do we redefine success and prosperity separate from GDP, which politicians and governments have focused on for decades? We speak with ecological economist Tim Jackson, Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey, Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Propserity, and author of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab