Biomarkers Could Determine Treatment for Esophageal Cancer

Research presented at the 56th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology identified VEGF-A and TGF-beta as markers of treatment decision in patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.

A blood test may be beneficial in indicating neoadjuvant treatment regimens for patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), according to research presented today at the American Society for Radiation Oncology’s (ASTRO’s) 56th Annual Meeting. Results of a nine-year study of patients undergoing concurrent chemotherapy and radiotherapy (CCRT) for esophageal cancer show that levels of two proteins found in the body, vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), indicate patients’ pathological response and disease-free survival rates.

In order for a cancer to metastasize, the growth of a new network of blood vessels is necessary. This process of forming new blood vessels is called angiogenesis. Tumor angiogenesis is the proliferation of a network of blood vessels that penetrates into cancerous growths, supplying nutrients and oxygen, and removing waste products. VEGF-A plays a crucial role in facilitating tumors to form their supplying vessels needed for growth and metastasis.

TGF-β1 contributes to tumor invasion and systemic tumor spread, and overexpression of TGF-β1 has been reported as a negative predictor in esophageal cancer.

This study evaluated serum (blood) samples of 103 total patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) from 2004 to 2013. All patients received preoperative CCRT (taxane-/5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy and 40 Gy dose of radiation therapy) prior to esophagectomy (surgical removal of a part of the esophagus).

Link to the complete report:

Source: ASTRO