Purification of Diseased Cells from Barrett’s Esophagus and Related Lesions by Laser Capture Microdissection

  • Masood A. ShammasEmail author
  • Manjula Y. Rao
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 755)


Barrett’s esophageal adenocarcinoma (BEAC) arises from Barrett’s esophagus (BE), a premalignant lesion caused by acid reflux (heartburn). Although the cancer is uncommon, its incidence is rapidly rising in western countries. Like most other cancers, BEAC cells also have elevated telomerase activity which maintains telomere length and supports continued proliferation of these cells. It is not clear if telomerase is activated early at premalignant (BE) stage, because reports of telomerase activity in Barrett’s and normal esophagi have been controversial. We have shown that detection of telomerase and telomeres becomes easier and much more reliable if purified BE cells are used instead of tissue specimens. This chapter, therefore, emphasizes the importance of laser capture microdissection and provides the method to purify Barrett’s esophagus related cells, using this technique.

Key words

Laser microdissection Barrett’s esophagus Esophageal adenocarcinoma Esophageal metaplasia Telomere Telomerase 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical OncologyHarvard (Dana Farber) Cancer Institute and VA Boston Healthcare SystemBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Neurology, Center on Human Development and DisabilityUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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