Oesophageal cancer and Barrett's oesophagus

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Oesophageal cancer is cancer of the muscular tube that leads from the throat to the stomach. Two different types of cancer affect the oesophagus: squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC – the type of cancer that begins in flat cells lining the oesophagus) and adenocarcinoma (OAC – the type of cancer that begins in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids). There are over 1,200 cases of oesophageal cancer every year in Australia, and most sufferers die within 12 months of diagnosis.

Oesophageal cancer is usually preceded by a condition call Barrett's oesophagus. Barrett’s oesophagus is a condition in which the normal flat-celled (squamous) lining of the oesophagus changes, becoming similar to the glandular tissue that lines the intestine. This change is called metaplasia, which can progress to a more dangerous, pre-cancerous form called dysplasia. In a small number of patients, these changes go on to form oesophageal cancer.

Our researchers are investigating both Barrett's oesophagus and oesophageal cancer in a wide range of areas.

Our research focuses on:

  • Investigating the link between irritable bowel disease and Barrett's oesophagus.
  • Researching the biochemical and genetic changes that occur within a cell during Barrett's oesophagus and oesophageal cancer, which may lead to a better understanding of treatment options.

Our recent research:

  • Developed a clinical risk prediction tool for Barrett's oesophagus, eliminating the need for unnecessary endoscopic procedures.

Research groups involved in oesophageal cancer research: