Castle Biosciences, a leading prognostic and molecular diagnostic company in Texas, has announced the release of a multi-biomarker test, DecisionDx-EC that helps in predicting the prognosis and resistance to chemo-radiation therapy in esophageal cancer patients before surgery.
Esophageal cancer is one of the deadliest cancers, with an incidence of over 18,000 new cases each year and a mortality rate of 15,000. According to current treatment and management guidelines, it is recommended to perform radiation therapy as well as chemotherapy in esophageal cancer patients to reduce the size and extent of tumor, making surgery less extensive and hazard-free.
The multi-biomarker test enables physicians to identify tumors that are less responsive to these regimens and revise the therapeutic protocols accordingly. The President and CEO of Castle Biosciences Inc, Derek Maetzold commented:
“A recent study indicated that patients who do not respond to chemoradiation not only suffer the toxicities, morbidities and costs associated with these treatments, but they also have shorter disease-free and overall survival times than those treated with surgery alone. Data show that about 25% of esophageal cancer patients have tumors that are likely to be unresponsive to traditional CTRT regimens. With information provided by the new DecisionDx-EC test, those patients could consider avoiding the potentially harmful effects of chemoradiation therapy.”
Before the DecisionDx-EC test, there was no method of estimating the response to CTRT (Chemotherapy-radiation therapy) regimens in esophageal cancer patients; however, since DecisionDx-EC test has the capacity to locate the three protein biomarkers, the CTRT resistance can be easily analyzed.
Theprotein markers include GLI1, NFkB, and sonic hedgehog (SHH) that are produced by tumor tissue of esophagus. All these proteins are known to be associated in mediating resistance to radiation and chemotherapy.
The video below from Vanderbilt Medical Center provides an overview of esophageal cancer, its diagnosis, treatment, etc..
Clinical Validation of the DecisionDx-EC Test:
DecisionDx-EC underwent extensive testing to determine the validity of results in esophageal adenocarcinoma patients. The initial research and testing was done at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MD Anderson), where this test was actually discovered. The results of clinical research were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in 2011. Castle Biosciences is the only licensed producer of the test by MD Anderson and has been actively involved in the clinical validation and analytical studies in a CLIA laboratory with extensive study on over 250 specimens.
Another multi-center clinical validation study has been recently completed. The results of this research study will be presented in an upcoming scientific meeting.
Castle Biosciences also offers prognostic tests to determine prognosis of other cancer treatments like thymic cancer, skin melanoma, brain cancers and uveal melanoma.