Scientists identify new oesophageal cancer classifications

6 September 2016

UK scientists have developed a new method for classifying oesophageal cancer that could make it easier to develop targeted therapies in future.

Funded by Cancer Research UK and the Medical Research Council (MRC), the research looked at the complete genetic composition of 129 oesophageal cancers and subdivided the disease into three distinct types, based on patterns detected in the DNA of the cells.

The first subtype had faults in DNA repair pathways and may benefit from the class of drugs called PARP inhibitors, which kill cancer cells by exploiting this weakness. The second, meanwhile, had a higher number of DNA mistakes and more immune cells in the tumours, meaning they could respond well to immunotherapy.

Finally, the third subtype had a DNA signature associated with cell ageing, which means this group might benefit from drugs targeting proteins on the surface of the cancer cells that make cells divide.

Lead researcher Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald, based at the MRC Cancer Unit at the University of Cambridge, said: "These new findings give us a greater understanding of the DNA signatures that underpin different subtypes of the disease and means we could better tailor treatment."

Posted by Edward Bartel


Health News is provided by Axonn Media in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Axonn Media and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...



© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)