Molecular Epidemiology of Gastric and Esophageal Cancer Survival

Cancers of stomach and esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach) are a major cause of illness and death. Worldwide, the incidence of tumours at the stomach-esophagus border is increasing more rapidly than any other type of cancer. Historically, gastric and esophageal cancers have been studied separately; however, recent evidence suggests these cancers have a lot in common. As a result, studying these cancers together may result in information about the origin or effective treatment of one cancer having similar implications for the other. Morteza Bashash is investigating whether certain genes are associated with the disease progression of these cancers. Specifically, he is testing whether these patients have alteration of two groups of genes that are associated with cancer progression, Matrix Metalloproteinase (MMP) and Tissue Inhibitors of Metalloproteinase (TIMP). He is monitoring newly-diagnosed patients to determine whether the progression of the disease depends on these genes or other possible determinants such as family history, and/or the patients’ ethnicity. He is also assessing whether the effects are different in geographic areas where the cancers are becoming more common (BC), and areas where the cancers are already common. The results from this research could help identify high risk patients and provide them with more effective treatment.