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Medicines 2017, 4(3), 67; doi:10.3390/medicines4030067

Esophageal Cancer: Genomic and Molecular Characterization, Stem Cell Compartment and Clonal Evolution

Department of Hematology, Oncology and Molecular Medicine, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, 00141 Rome, Italy
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Received: 23 August 2017 / Revised: 5 September 2017 / Accepted: 7 September 2017 / Published: 14 September 2017
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Abstract

Esophageal cancer (EC) is the eighth most common cancer and is the sixth leading cause of death worldwide. The incidence of histologic subtypes of EC, esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) and esophageal squamous carcinoma (ESCC), display considerable geographic variation. EAC arises from metaplastic Barrett’s esophagus (BE) in the context of chronic inflammation secondary to exposure to acid and bile. The main risk factors for developing ESCC are cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption. The main somatic genetic abnormalities showed a different genetic landscape in EAC compared to ESCC. EAC is a heterogeneous cancer dominated by copy number alterations, a high mutational burden, co-amplification of receptor tyrosine kinase, frequent TP53 mutations. The cellular origins of BE and EAC are still not understood: animal models supported a cellular origin either from stem cells located in the basal layer of esophageal epithelium or from progenitors present in the cardia region. Many studies support the existence of cancer stem cells (CSCs) able to initiate and maintain EAC or ESCC. The exact identification of these CSCs, as well as their role in the pathogenesis of EAC and ESCC remain still to be demonstrated. The reviewed studies suggest that current molecular and cellular characterization of EAC and ESCC should serve as background for development of new treatment strategies. View Full-Text
Keywords: esophageal cancer; Barrett’s disease; cancer stem cells; tumor xenotrasplantation assay; gene sequencing; gene expression profiling esophageal cancer; Barrett’s disease; cancer stem cells; tumor xenotrasplantation assay; gene sequencing; gene expression profiling
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Testa, U.; Castelli, G.; Pelosi, E. Esophageal Cancer: Genomic and Molecular Characterization, Stem Cell Compartment and Clonal Evolution. Medicines 2017, 4, 67.

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