Less-Invasive Surgery for Cancer of the Esophagus
For patients with esophageal cancer, transhiatal esophagectomy without thoracotomy (removing the esophagus without opening the chest) was pioneered and refined at the University of Michigan by Mark Orringer, M.D. Nearly 3,000 patients have undergone this operation at the University of Michigan in the past 30 years.
The operative mortality rate for this procedure at U-M in our last reported 1,000 patients was 1%, with an average hospital stay of seven days. The Thoracic Oncology Program is also a leader in the multidisciplinary treatment of esophageal cancer, which includes chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery in an attempt to improve the chances for survival.
There is hope, innovation and support available for those with esophageal cancer here at the University of Michigan.
Coordinated Care for Thoracic Cancers
The Thoracic Oncology Program at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center has assembled a team to provide care to patients diagnosed with esophageal cancer. The team is staffed by:
- Thoracic surgeons
- Medical and radiation oncologists
- Physician Assistants
Thoracic Research Finds New Methods to Detect and Treat Esophageal Cancer
The Thoracic Surgery Research Laboratory is performing research to identify new methods to detect and more effectively treat esophageal cancer. Current research is aimed at defining the specific genetic changes that occur in esophageal cancer that provide insight into new ways to treat this deadly disease. Our investigators have recently obtained grant funding from the National Cancer Institute to develop new ways to detect cancer early.
About the Barrett's Esophagus Translational Research Network
The novel idea of a new Barrett’s Esophagus Translational Research Network (BETRNet) grant is to identify cancer-specific genomic changes that result in high-level expression of genes that are located on the cancer cell surface, and then to develop small protein “peptides” that selectively bind to these overexpressed cell surface proteins. Because the peptides can be labeled with fluorescent dyes, exactly where they bind within the esophagus can be imaged in high resolution using a sophisticated endoscope. In a large collaborative effort the genomic events we discover are used to nominate, clone and validate the cell surface gene products which are the cancer-specific targets. The fluorescent-labeled specific peptides are identified and tested, and finally the endoscopes are constructed that image the fluorescent signals in the esophagus and biopsy the fluorescent areas to confirm malignancy. These efforts will help identify esophageal cancer early when it is more effectively treated.