Re-evaluation of esophageal cancer treatmentsThe current options for treating esophageal cancer might seem limited especially for patients with advanced disease. However, new therapies, specifically for esophageal cancer are being explored nowadays and developed by researchers.

What is being studied about esophageal cancer?

A couple of new treatments for containing esophageal cancer are currently being researched and include:

Medications: various clinical trials are ongoing for studying new drugs and also novel ways in which the therapies that exist already for treating esophageal cancer can be combined including radiation therapy and chemotherapy. The good news is that the researchers have now found more targeted drugs, which are currently being tested for destroying specific components for cancer cells as well as drugs that prevent replication of abnormal cells. There are other drugs as well, which prevent the blood vessels from being formed to help the tumors grow and these ones will soon be tested in patients having esophageal cancer.

Immunotherapy: this is a treatment that makes use of the natural defenses of the patient or the immune system in fighting esophageal cancer. Currently, the treatment is in clinical trials. More specifically, the researchers are now investigating how effective the monoclonal antibodies for the esophageal cancer are. Already being used for treating other cancers, these antibodies work by targeting proteins in the cancerous cells and are now being studied for patients having esophageal adenocarcinoma.

Genetics: there is a lot of work that is being done nowadays for determining the genes that mutate and cause esophageal cancer. After scientists gain a better understanding of these genes, it will be possible for them to come up with screening methods that are more precise and this will help detect esophageal while it is still in the early stages. The ultimate hope is to be able to create a gene therapy which can fix abnormal DNA which lead to the formation of cancerous cells at the first place.

Cancer detection: considering that most esophageal cancer cases get diagnosed when the disease is at an advanced stage, there is a lot of research that is being focused nowadays on how esophageal cancer can be detected earlier. The researchers are now studying patients who have Barrett’s esophagus, which is a precancerous condition associated with abnormal esophageal cells. This way, they are able to figure out the patients with a high likelihood of getting esophageal cancer and the reasons behind this.

Re-evaluating treatment for esophageal cancer

Researchers have also been exploring various methods in which esophageal cancer can be treated to ensure that the patients live a better quality life. When the disease is in its early stage, the previous algorithm exercised by doctors has been surgery whereby the esophagus is removed. At this point, some researchers are pointing out that the esophagus can still be preserved and such re-evaluations will certainly lead to better management of the disease.