Stomach cancer (also known as gastric cancer) is cancer that starts in any part of the stomach and is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide. Esophageal cancer is a cancer that develops in the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach, and is the eighth most frequently diagnosed cancer worldwide.
- An estimated 28,000 new cases of stomach cancer and 16,940 new cases of esophageal cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017, with more than 26,650 deaths expected to result from these diagnoses.
- Men are twice as likely to develop stomach cancer and three times more likely to develop esophageal cancer than women.
- The risk of developing either stomach or esophageal cancer increases with age.
- The lifetime risk of developing esophageal cancer in the U.S. is 0.8%, while the average risk for developing stomach cancer is 0.5%.
- The overall five-year relative survival rate in the U.S. for people with stomach cancer is about 29% and about 18% for esophogeal cancer.
- Both stomach and esophageal cancers are more common in other parts of the world, particularly in less developed countries.
Stomach and Esophageal Cancer Research
In addition to specific projects listed below, genomics research is helping us attack stomach and esophageal cancers – and all types of cancer. NFCR has distinguished itself from other organizations by emphasizing long-term, transformative research and working to move people toward cancer genomics.
Dr. Wei Zhang has devoted his entire career to the pursuit of precision oncology – specifically to the key molecular and genomic events that drive the development and progression of cancer. Over the last 18 years, Dr. Zhang and his team have identified multiple novel cancer markers and oncogenic signaling molecules.
In collaboration with the Tissue Bank Consortium in Asia and other scientists, Dr. Zhang led his team to analyze advanced genome-sequencing data from hundreds of gastric cancer samples and discovered defects in three cellular signaling pathways (BRCA2, Wnt and PI3-K-ERBB4). Several newly developed drugs that target these pathways have been tested in breast and ovarian cancers and may lead to improved treatments for patients with stomach cancer.