Recent advances in treating oesophageal cancer

F1000Res. 2020 Oct 1:9:F1000 Faculty Rev-1189. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.22926.1. eCollection 2020.


Esophageal cancer (EC) is an aggressive malignancy with an increasing incidence and a poor prognosis. EC is histologically divided into two major categories: adenocarcinoma (EAC) and squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). EAC and ESCC are molecularly different and therefore treatments should reflect the respective histological subtype. Combined modality therapy is needed for localized EC. When EC is advanced (stage 4), systemic therapy is the mainstay treatment for palliation. For localized EC, several strategies are considered standard, and more trials are necessary to determine a unified and more effective approach. The management for advanced EC is slowly evolving as immunotherapy is showing some promise for ESCC, but more data from ongoing studies are anticipated. Treatment advances will be based on high-definition genomic investigation of individual tumors. Herein, we review the contemporary trends in diagnosing and treating EAC and ESCC.

Keywords: esophageal adenocarcinoma; esophageal cancer; esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma* / diagnosis
  • Adenocarcinoma* / therapy
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell* / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell* / therapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Esophageal Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Esophageal Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma / diagnosis
  • Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma / genetics
  • Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma / therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy

Grants and funding

This work was supported by generous grants from the Caporella, Dallas, Sultan, Park, Smith, Frazier, Oaks, Vanstekelenberg, Planjery, and Cantu families, as well as from the Schecter Private Foundation, Rivercreek Foundation, Kevin Fund, Myer Fund, Dio Fund, Milrod Fund, and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, Texas, USA) multidisciplinary grant program. This research was also supported in part by National Cancer Institute grants CA129906, CA127672, CA138671, and CA172741; by Department of Defense grants CA150334 and CA162445 (J.A.A.); and by a grant from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Overseas Research Fellowships and Program for Advancing Strategic International Networks to Accelerate the Circulation of Talented Researchers (K.H.).