Liquid biopsy as a novel tool to monitor the carcinogenesis of Barrett's esophagus

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Barrett's esophagus (BE) is associated with an increased risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma. For this reason, endoscopic-based surveillance protocols have been developed. This prevention program is, however, burdensome for the patients and expensive for the national health systems. Thus, diagnostic strategies with a low invasiveness and a reduced economic impact are required. This study investigated the power of plasma circulating free DNA (cfDNA) in predicting neoplastic transformation in the natural history of two BE patients who progressed to esophageal adenocarcinoma. Longitudinally collected DNAs from plasma and paired formalin fixed paraffin embedded samples were examined for both loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in areas proximal toTP53,FHITandBRCA2genes, and mutations inTP53gene. Results showed that: (i) early BE molecular alterations are mainly localized proximal to, or within,TP53gene; (ii) LOH events present in cfDNA not only retrace the time-matched biopsy profile but better represent the total alterations of the BE epithelium. In conclusion, our findings suggested that LOH analysis in plasma cfDNA could represent an additional, less invasive, diagnostic tool to monitor neoplastic progression of BE epithelium.

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