Cancers detected at a late stage are often refractory to treatments and ultimately lethal. Early detection can significantly increase survival probability, but attempts to reduce mortality by early detection have frequently increased overdiagnosis of indolent conditions that do not progress over a lifetime. Study designs that incorporate biomarker trajectories in time and space are needed to distinguish patients who progress to an early cancer from those who follow an indolent course. Esophageal adenocarcinoma is characterized by evolution of punctuated and catastrophic somatic chromosomal alterations and high levels of overall mutations but few recurrently mutated genes aside from TP53. Endoscopic surveillance of Barrett's esophagus for early cancer detection provides an opportunity for assessment of alterations for cancer risk in patients who progress to esophageal adenocarcinoma compared with nonprogressors. We investigated 1,272 longitudinally collected esophageal biopsies in a 248 Barrett's patient case-cohort study with 20,425 person-months of follow-up, including 79 who progressed to early-stage esophageal adenocarcinoma. Cancer progression risk was assessed for total chromosomal alterations, diversity, and chromosomal region-specific alterations measured with single-nucleotide polymorphism arrays in biopsies obtained over esophageal space and time. A model using 29 chromosomal features was developed for cancer risk prediction (area under receiver operator curve, 0.94). The model prediction performance was robust in two independent esophageal adenocarcinoma sets and outperformed TP53 mutation, flow cytometric DNA content, and histopathologic diagnosis of dysplasia. This study offers a strategy to reduce overdiagnosis in Barrett's esophagus and improve early detection of esophageal adenocarcinoma and potentially other cancers characterized by punctuated and catastrophic chromosomal evolution.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research