, Volume 14, Issue 1 Supplement, pp 75-80
Date: 12 Sep 2009

Genetics in the Pathogenesis of Esophageal Cancer: Possible Predictive and Prognostic Factors

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Esophageal adenocarcinoma is the most rapidly increasing cancer in Western countries. Like esophageal squamous-cell carcinoma, these tumors are often detected at an advanced stage, requiring a multimodal concept. Despite improvements in detection, surgical resection, and (neo-) adjuvant therapy, the overall survival of esophageal cancer remains lower than other solid tumors. In fact, just 30–40% of the patients with advanced esophageal cancer benefit from a neoadjuvant therapy. Therefore, predictive/prognostic markers are needed to allow tailored multimodality therapy with increased efficacy.


In recent years, there has been an exponential growth in our understanding of the cellular and molecular events associated with cell cycle regulation, programmed cell death, angiogenesis, and tumor growth. In this review, the classification of Hanahan and Weinberg is used concerning the six essential changes in carcinogenesis, i.e., the six hallmarks of cancer: (1) self-sufficiency in growth signals; (2) insensitivity to antigrowth signals; (3) avoidance of apoptosis; (4) limitless replicative potential; (5) sustained angiogenesis; and (6) tissue invasion and metastasis.


According to these six steps, this review provides an update of the most recent data about predictive/prognostic molecular markers in patients with esophageal cancer.