Molecular Assay for Diagnosing and Prognosing Esophageal Adenocarcinoma


Through a collaboration between TGen and Dignity Health, researchers have developed an assay for early detection and monitoring of Esophageal Adenocarcinoma (EA), which differentiates Metaplasia from Dysplasia patients and monitors progression of EA .  The identified panel of markers can be monitored non-invasively for uptake and release changes through the testing of patient gastric fluid samples, while providing greater sensitivity and specificity in diagnosing esophageal cancer than current diagnostic practices.


EA is the most common type of esophageal cancer in the United States, and is an aggressive form of cancer in the mucus-secreting glands of the esophagus with a low survival rate.  Chronic inflammation caused by gastric reflux is the major background for EA development in which the tissue undergoes metaplastic change, progressing into dysplasia and then EA.  Current diagnostic practices, such as endoscopy, CT scans, and biopsy, are inadequate for early detection of EA when there are often few symptoms, and has led to a challenge in stemming the rising number of incidences and death. 


Tracking the metabolic reprogramming of tumor cells in the esophagus using the panel of markers of the developed assay facilitates precise molecular classification for differentiating EA from other disorders in the esophagus and digestive systems, and prediction of EA progression for targeted treatment and care earlier than current diagnosis practices.  The panel of markers comprises intra- and extra-cellular glycerophospholipids, lysophosphatidylocholines, acylcarnitines, amino acids, biogenic amines, and sphingolipids, and were determined through the measurement of levels of 185 different metabolites in non-dysplastic metaplasia, high-grade dysplasia, and EA cell lines.


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Katie Bray
Intellectual Property Counsel
The Translational Genomics Research Institute
Landon Inge
Timothy Whitsett
Patrick Pirrotte
Khyatiben (Khyati) Pathak