Prospective validation of the complement system as a novel treatment stratification tool in oesophageal adenocarcinoma patients

Cancer of the oesophagus (food-pipe) is rapidly increasing in incidence in Ireland and worldwide and has one of the worst survival rates of all cancers. In Ireland, oesophageal cancer patients are currently treated with chemoradiation therapy (CRT), which is a combination of drugs (chemotherapy) and radiation (radiation therapy), followed by surgery. Survival rates are greatly improved for patients whose tumours are sensitive to CRT. Unfortunately, many patients do not respond to this treatment as their tumours are resistant, meaning that these patients unnecessarily go through this therapy, which can delay their surgery and increase the chance of their tumour growing. Unfortunately, there are currently no tests that can tell doctors which oesophageal cancer patients will benefit from CRT. Being able to predict before treatment begins, which patients will benefit from having CRT before surgery and identifying new treatments to prevent resistance to CRT would improve patient outcomes and quality of life worldwide.

In a previous study, we identified for the first time several proteins from the 'complement system', a pathway that is involved in controlling the immune response, which were altered in blood and tumours from patients who were resistant to CRT. This study brings together an expert team of national and international scientists, surgeons and pathologists. We will use tumour and blood samples from a larger group of national and international oesophageal cancer patients who are part of a clinical trial, to  rigorously test the ability of these proteins to identify, before treatment begins, whether a patient will benefit from CRT or not. In addition, we will determine the relationship between these proteins and immune cells in patient tumours to identify a new combination treatment approach for patients who are resistant to CRT. This will ultimately improve patient outcomes and quality of life around the world.


Award Date
29 June 2017
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr Niamh Lynam-Lennon
Host Institution
Trinity College Dublin
Investigator Led Projects