David M. Poppers, MD: Early Detection for Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal cancer has a low survival rate largely due to advanced stage diagnosis.

Esophageal cancer rates are rising, leading to a need for early detection screening tools.

The current incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) is 4.3 cases per 100,000 individuals, with a 5-year survival rate of approximately 20%. The low survival rate is largely because of advanced stage diagnosis, with about 39% of cases metastatic at the time of diagnosis.

However, in a poster presented at the 2021 Digestive Disease Week (DDW) Virtual Conference, researchers from NYU Langone Health found a catheter/inflatable balloon-based technology called EsoCheck could be used in an ambulatory setting to allow for rapid sampling of the mucosa in the distal esophagus.

Traditionally, the disease is screened for using direct optical endoscopy. However, this can be underutilized.

EsoCheck collects esophageal cells in 3-5 minutes without requiring endoscopy or sedation. The cells are then analyzed through a proprietary molecular assay called EsoGuard, enabling clinicians to identify the presence of methylation above a defined threshold at specific sites of the vimentin and CCNA1 genes.

In an interview with HCPLive®, David M. Poppers, MD, PhD, NYU Langone, explained the hope of presenting this data at DDW is to promote awareness of the device, which ultimately could increase the early detection rates of diseases like EAC and Barret’s esophagus.