Genetic susceptibility study for Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma awarded $7.9M grant

Study to evaluate genetic risk factors for Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma

Thomas Vaughan, M.D., head of the Epidemiology Program in the Public Health Sciences Division of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, has received a three-year, $7.9 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to study genetic susceptibility for Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma, a rapidly fatal cancer whose incidence has increased more than 500 percent in the past 30 years, faster than any other cancer in the United States.

Vaughan and David Whiteman, Ph.D., a senior research fellow at Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane, Australia, will execute a large-scale genome-wide association study using pooled data and DNA from 18 epidemiological studies of more than 7,000 individuals making up the Barrett's and Esophageal Adenocarcinoma Consortium to determine how genetic factors interplay with key environmental and personal risk factors for these conditions, including obesity, heartburn and smoking.

"The results will aid us in identifying the biological pathways that contribute to this cancer," Vaughan said. "The information also will help direct our screening, prevention and surveillance efforts to those at highest risk."

The Hutchinson Center's Genomics Resource will do the genotyping for the study, their largest project to date. Bruce Weir, Ph.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Washington School of Public Health will lead the statistical analysis team.

Genome-wide association studies involve a scan of hundreds of thousands of genetic markers across the genome in large numbers of individuals to find genetic variations associated with a particular disease. Early genome-wide scans have demonstrated considerable success in identifying genetic variants associated with common diseases.


  1. Linda Lewis Linda Lewis United States says:

    I just had an EGD and my surgeon told me he felt I had Barrett's esophagus.  The results are not yet in, but my stomach was all bloody (they took pictures).  I got my stomach stapled in 1991 and have the worst case of reflux our local radiologist had seen in over 30 years of testing.  Of course, I am concerned, but would love to know more.  Our local pathologist is a personal friend so he is going to review my tests and will have the results hopefully next week.  I have had stomach problems for over 18 years and have no fibers any longer from excessive throwing up from the stomach stapling.  I had the ring put on my esophagus and that is where the problems start.  Are you going to be doing clinical studies.  If so, I would love to see your results and maybe even be part of the testing.  I am 56 years old and otherwise please keep me in mind.  Thank you, Linda Lewis, Administrative Director for the China Lake Surgery Center, in Ridgecrest, CA

    • dermot dermot Ireland says:

      Hello Linda, sorry to hear your having this reflux for so long, sounds like a case of medical neglience, if possible you should seek professional advice from the Hutchinson or Mayo centres, you could have some dysplasia 'lesions'. The Mayo is leading a new treatment 'ablation' on this using radio waves it sounds promising for patients, I have had Barretts for 3 years now and have had a brother who passed away the condition.

      Thankfully my dad survived with the condition, having Barretts is a warning sign, but pleasse don't panic there are many different levels and some good medication, I am taking an asprin based omeprazole with ranitidine, I hope this helps you but please do not let the weeks pass by doing nothing. Best wishes

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