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Oesophageal cancer is the most rapidly increasing gastrointestinal cancer in the Western world with an increase of around 5% per annum. Surgical resection is considered the cornerstone in oesophageal cancer treatment with curative intent. The prognosis of oesophageal cancer has improved in patients eligible to undergo surgical resection, with 5-year survival rates ranging from 6% to 50%, but rarely exceeding 30%.1 ,2 When resection is not possible, prognosis of disease is truly infaust; patients rarely survive a year. The combination of rapid increase of incidence of oesophageal cancer with the inadequacy of the current therapeutic regimens urgently calls for the development of novel prevention and treatment modalities. Rational design of such treatment is, however, hampered by lack of knowledge of the mechanisms operative in the oesophagus that constitute the rate-limiting steps in the initiation and further degeneration of oesophageal malignancy.
Generally, oesophageal cancer can either manifest itself in a squamous form or derive from the Barrett's oesophagus precursor lesion and form adenocarcinoma.3 Most progress in the treatment has been made with respect to the former form …
Contributors All authors contributed the conceptualisation of this review, it was written by MP.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
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