Repurposing a Diagnostic Device to Address Health Disparities in Esophageal Cancer Screening and Outcomes

Adult, Chicago, Current Research, Device, Diagnostic, Dr. Sims, Health Disparities, Minority/Underserved, Oncology, Rare, University of Illinois at Chicago

Principal Investigator: Dr. H. Steven Sims

Disease: Esophageal cancer

Research Description: Esophageal cancer can be divided into two types: adenocarcinoma (the majority of diagnoses in White patients) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCCA, the majority of diagnoses in Black patients). Black males in particular have poorer outcomes from esophageal cancer. Transnasal esophagoscopy (TNE) uses a flexible endoscope device to identify conditions that are risk factors for adenocarcinoma, such as Barrett’s esophagus, and to monitor for adenocarcinoma through routine screenings. However, TNE is not currently used for SCCA routine screening. This community-based study will survey the population at community health centers to inquire about risk factors for SCCA (primarily tobacco and alcohol consumption). The research team will then use TNE on those with self-reported risk factors to screen for SCCA, focusing on Black males. Those patients with positive screening results will be referred for care. This project aims to develop a cost-effective routine screening program using a repurposed device, which may lead to earlier stage diagnoses and reduced mortality in a population that has had a higher incidence of lethal outcomes from esophageal cancer for decades.

Funding Partners: The Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, Walder Foundation and other funders

CWR funding role: Primary funder

Current Research