Exact Sciences and Mayo Clinic Present Early Data on Test for Esophageal Cancer Detection

Esophageal cancer poses a serious health challenge in the United States, with it becoming increasingly common over the past few decades. Despite its increasing prevalence, esophageal cancer often remains undiagnosed until advanced stages, as it typically manifests without early symptoms. In addressing this pressing issue, Exact Sciences, in collaboration with Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center, has started an effort to develop a non-endoscopic screening test for esophageal cancer and its precursors. The innovative screening tool, known as Oncoguard Esophagus, represents a promising advancement in early detection methods. Unlike traditional endoscopy, which can be invasive and costly, Oncoguard Esophagus offers a less intrusive approach. The test utilizes an encapsulated sponge device to collect esophageal cells, which are then subjected to DNA extraction and analysis through a PCR assay. This process is augmented by an algorithm that interprets the results, providing healthcare professionals with a clear indication of the presence or absence of esophageal adenocarcinoma and Barrett’s esophagus, a precursor to the cancer.

Recent findings published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology shed light on the efficacy of Oncoguard Esophagus. The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and Exact Sciences, demonstrated promising results in terms of sensitivity and specificity. Specifically, the test exhibited 88% sensitivity at 84% specificity for detecting Barrett’s esophagus, and 100% sensitivity for detecting both esophageal adenocarcinoma and Barrett’s esophagus with high-grade dysplasia. These encouraging outcomes show the potential of Oncoguard Esophagus as a reliable screening tool for individuals at risk of esophageal cancer.

The development of Oncoguard Esophagus is a milestone in the journey for more accessible and effective cancer screening methods. Collaborating with Mayo Clinic, Exact Sciences aims to address the limitations of current screening protocols by offering a minimally invasive alternative. By leveraging its expertise in diagnostic testing, Exact Sciences seeks to replicate the success of its noninvasive Cologuard screening test for colon cancer in the area of esophageal cancer detection. Central to the development of Oncoguard Esophagus is the focus on patient experience and convenience. The sponge collection method employed by the test has been well tolerated by study participants, with the majority expressing willingness to undergo the procedure again if necessary. The feasibility of implementing the test in an office setting shows its potential for widespread adoption, offering healthcare providers a potentially valuable treatment option for esophageal cancer.

Exact Sciences is committed to further refining and validating Oncoguard Esophagus through ongoing research and clinical trials. The company is conducting additional studies to assess the test’s performance in diverse patient populations, with a focus on primary care settings in Minnesota and Wisconsin. These efforts outline Exact Sciences’ dedication to advancing cancer screening technologies and improving outcomes for individuals at risk of esophageal cancer. The collaboration between Exact Sciences and Mayo Clinic represents a step forward in the fight against esophageal cancer. Benefitting from the power of innovation and collaboration, these organizations are ready to revolutionize cancer screening practices and make early detection more accessible for patients and providers.