Research ArticleCancer

Identifying DNA methylation biomarkers for non-endoscopic detection of Barrett’s esophagus

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Science Translational Medicine  17 Jan 2018:
Vol. 10, Issue 424, eaao5848
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aao5848

A test that goes down easy

Barrett’s esophagus is a premalignant condition of the distal esophagus that increases the risk of esophageal cancer. Unfortunately, screening for Barrett’s esophagus currently requires endoscopy, an invasive and expensive procedure, and thus, it is not routinely performed. Moinova et al. have now demonstrated a simplified approach to screening by identifying a pair of DNA methylation markers that correlate with the presence of Barrett’s esophagus. The authors also invented a swallowable balloon-based device that can capture DNA samples for methylation analysis and found that it is well tolerated in patients and provides >90% sensitivity and specificity compared to endoscopy, suggesting its potential as a screening method.

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