Oesophageal Cancer

The Identification of Predictive Biomarkers for the Prediction of Gefitinib Response in Oesophageal Cancer.

Project lead

This project is led by Professor Zofia Miedzybrodzka, Professor in Medical Genetics at the University of Aberdeen and Professor Russell Petty, Professor of Medical Oncology, Clinical and Translational Research in Oesophageal and Gastric Cancer at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.


An unmet clinical need. Oesophageal Cancer (OC) is a highly aggressive common form of cancer with a rising incidence worldwide and poor prognosis. Median survival remains only 10 months following surgery and/or chemotherapy. In the UK, survival rates are 40 % reducing to 15 % at 5 years. The rising incidence and poor clinical outcomes with current therapeutic approaches mean that there is a real need for new treatments but also a need for improved use of currently available therapies.

The objective

Objectives of this project are five-fold:

  • To identify genetic variants associated with the Gefitinib response using next Generation Sequencing (NGS).
  • To determine if the genetic variants identified by NGS can be used as a predictive biomarkers for response after Gefitinib treatment.
  • To identify targets for novel precision medicine approaches.
  • To identify mechanisms of acquired (secondary) resistance to Gefitinib in Oesophageal Cancer by analysis of a cohort comprised a serial biopsy samples.
  • To identify mechanisms of tumourigenesis and tumour progression as targets for future therapeutic exploitation.


Using the SMS Innovation Platform, exome panel-based sequencing has been carried out on DNA samples provided by the University of Aberdeen and NHS Grampian. Bio-informatics analysis will be performed using the SMS Innovation Platform. These outputs will then be used to assess for a diagnostic response.

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