Sarah Cannon - March 28, 2022

Here is what you should know about the latest advancements in both the research and the treatment of esophageal cancer.

Risk factors for esophageal cancer

Common risk factors for esophageal cancer are tobacco and alcohol use. Links have also been found between adenocarcinoma of the esophagus and obesity, which is a risk factor for esophageal cancer as well as many other types of cancer.

While esophageal cancer can occur for a number of reasons, research continues to advance in determining genetic drivers of the cancer. Researchers have found that certain genetic mutations are more commonly connected to people who have been diagnosed with Barrett's esophagus, which is a disorder in which the lining of the esophagus is damaged by stomach acid. Doctors can determine which patients need proactive monitoring and which patients can be examined less frequently, based on the likelihood of Barrett's esophagus cells becoming cancerous.

Advancements in esophageal cancer treatment

Treatment continues to advance as researchers determine the best treatment approaches for each patient's specific diagnosis of esophageal cancer.

Current research is focused in immunotherapy for patients with esophageal cancer. Recently, immunotherapy drugs targeting the checkpoint inhibitor, PD-1, have been approved for the treatment of esophageal cancers. Ongoing research is evaluating immunotherapy in combination with other anti-cancer therapies.

Therapies that target aberrations or mis-expressed proteins found in esophageal tumors are also being investigated in clinical trials.

To learn more about esophageal cancer treatment, clinical trials, and survivorship, visit What is Esophageal Cancer? on the Sarah Cannon website. If you have questions about esophageal cancer, call askSARAH at (844) 482-4812 to speak to a nurse who is specially trained to help with your cancer questions or visit askSARAH online.