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Department of Oncology


Use of a Cytosponge biomarker panel to prioritise endoscopic Barrett's oesophagus surveillance
A study by Nastazja
Pilonis and Sarah Killcoyne, led by Rebecca Fitzgeral (Department of Oncology & MRC Cancer Unit) identified that using the Cytosponge (a non-endoscopic device developed by the Fitzgerald Team) coupled with laboratory biomarkers and clinical factors could be used to prioritise endoscopy for patients being monitored for cancerous changes in Barrett's oesophagus. This expands on the previous work by the Fitzgerald lab to use Cytosponge for screening to detect Barrett’s.
Endoscopic surveillance is recommended for patients with Barrett's oesophagus as, although progression rsik to cancer is low,
 endoscopic intervention is highly effective for identifying low and high-grade dysplasia and early cancer. However, repeated endoscopy has associated harms and access has been limited during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Published in The Lancet Oncology, researchers evaluated the role of the Cytosponge atypia, p53 overexpression, and clinical risk factors (age, sex, and segment length) to prioritise patients for endoscopy. The results, coupled with further investigation, could validate the Cytosponge use in clinical practice and lead to a substantial reduction in endoscopy procedures (estimated <40% would need endoscopy) compared with current surveillance pathways.
Click here to hear Rebecca explain the findings of the research in a Lancet podcast.