HealthDay News — A swallowable cellular retrieval capsule sponge cytology-sampling device, EsophaCap, in combination with a methylation biomarker panel represents a promising strategy for diagnosing Barrett esophagus (BE), according to a study published online January 22 in Clinical Cancer Research.

Zhixiong Wang, from the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, China, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study on 80 patients (52 in the training set and 28 in the test set). Methylation on beads was used to extract and bisulfite-convert DNA. Quantitative methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction was then used to assess methylation levels of 8 candidate markers.

The researchers found that 5 of 8 candidate methylation biomarkers were significantly higher in BE patients than controls in the training set. A 4 biomarker-plus-age lasso regression model was constructed for BE diagnosis and had an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of 0.894, with sensitivity and specificity of 94.4 and 62.2%, respectively, in the training set. In an independent test set, the model had high accuracy (AUC, 0.929), with sensitivity and specificity of 78.6 and 92.8%, respectively.

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“These findings suggest that this approach is a promising low-cost strategy for the early detection of BE,” the authors write. “Future large-scale studies are indicated to consolidate and further validate this strategy.”

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