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The esophagus stretches from the pharynx in the throat down through the thoracic cavity to the stomach and functions as a transport organ for food.
Stages of Esophageal cancer
The length from the throat is about 15 cm from the teeth while the length to the stomach is about 45 cm from the teeth. The esophagus is covered with squamous cell epithelium and contains as the rest of the gastro-intestinal tract three layers. In addition to the mucosa, the wall consists of the sub-mucosa separated from the mucosa by a thin layer of muscle (muscularis mucosa) and the outermost muscularis propria with circular and longitudinal muscle fibers. This cancer form has changed character in the last 20 years. Previously, cancer in the esophagus was primarily squamous cell carcinoma. Today adenocarcinomas constitute approximately 50% of all esophageal cancer.
Precursor lesions are classified as squamous cell dysplasia (intraepithelial neoplasia) of low-grade or high-grade type. These lesions can precede squamous cell carcinomas or occur synchronous close to the invasive carcinoma.
Definition of Barrett`s esophagus
Barrett`s esophagus represents as gastric or intestinal metaplasia (transformation of normal type of epithelium). These changes can appear due to reflux of gastric fluid in the distal (lower) part of the esophagus. Dysplasia preferably appears in the intestinal metaplasia of Barrett’s esophagus. The epithelial grading is as follows; negative for dysplasia, indefinite for dysplasia, low-grade or high-grade dysplasia.
Dysplasia in Barrett’s esophagus can develop into adenocarcinoma.
University College London - collaboration
We have received a material of 130 BE patients from University College London. We have shown that both DNA ploidy and Nucleotyping are very promising prognostic markers for patients with BE. (ref)