Clinical trial looks at new methods of assessing treatment response for esophageal cancer


R. Taylor Ripley, M.D., of the Thoracic and Gastrointestinal Oncology Branch is leading a study to determine whether metabolomic signatures or BH3 profiling in biopsy tissues can identify patients who will likely respond well to pre-surgical treatment.

Esophageal cancer occurs when cancer cells form in the tissues of the esophagus, the muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach. Because there are no early signs or symptoms, esophageal cancer is often diagnosed at an advanced stage, after patients experience difficulty swallowing. Patients are usually treated with chemotherapy and radiation to shrink tumors before they are surgically removed; however, there is currently no way to accurately evaluate patients’ response to treatment or to detect residual disease without removing the esophagus. R. Taylor Ripley, M.D., of the Thoracic and Gastrointestinal Oncology Branch is leading a study to determine whether metabolomic signatures or BH3 profiling in biopsy tissues can identify patients who will likely respond well to pre-surgical treatment. Each individual has a unique metabolome, which is the total number of chemical substances within a cell or tissue needed to maintain life. Analysis of a person’s metabolome identifies that person’s “metabolomic signature.” BH3 profiling involves analysis of the multiple chemical interactions within mitochondria (organelles inside most cells) that determine whether a cell will live or die. This information may help patients avoid surgery, stop unhelpful chemotherapy and radiation, or understand likely outcomes from this disease.

For more information about this trial, please visit: https://ccr.cancer.gov/Thoracic-and-Gastrointestinal-Oncology-Branch/r-taylor-ripley.  

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Summary Posted: 09/2017