Molecular targets for treatment of Barrett's esophagus

L. A. Feagins, Rhonda F. Souza

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Esophageal cancer is one of the most deadly forms of gastrointestinal cancer with a mortality rate exceeding 90%. The major risk factors for esophageal adenocarcinoma are gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and its sequela, Barrett's esophagus. GERD commonly leads to esophagitis. In a minority of patients however, ongoing GERD leads to replacement of esophageal squamous mucosa with metaplastic, intestinal-type Barrett's mucosa. In the setting of continued peptic injury, Barrett's mucosa can give rise to esophageal adenocarcinoma. Despite the widespread use of potent acid suppressive therapies for patients with GERD, the incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma, among white men in the USA, the UK and Europe has continued to rise. Cancers in Barrett's esophagus arise through a sequence of genetic events that endow the cells with six essential physiologic hallmarks of cancer as described by Hanahan and Weinberg in 2000. These cancer hallmarks include the ability to proliferate without exogenous stimulation, to resist growth-inhibitory signals, to avoid triggering the programmed death mechanism (apoptosis), to resist cell senescence, to develop new vascular supplies (angiogenesis), and to invade and metastasize. While the acquisition of these essential attributes is not specific to the neoplastic progression of Barrett's esophagus, this review will focus on the genetic alterations that occur in Barrett's cells that contribute to the acquisition of each of the hallmarks. Moreover, potential diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for Barrett's patients aimed at each of these cancer hallmarks will be reviewed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-86
Number of pages12
JournalDiseases of the Esophagus
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005


  • Barrett's esophagus
  • Esophageal adenocarcinoma
  • GERD
  • Molecular markers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular targets for treatment of Barrett's esophagus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this