Oesophageal cancer is the seventh most common cancer in the world and adenocarcinoma is the dominant subtype in Western industrialised nations. The global 5-year relative survival rate for oesophageal adenocarcinoma is 12%. Chemotherapy is a standard treatment offered to patients with both resectable and unresectable disease. However, there are only a few established chemotherapeutic drug options and progress in this area is limited. Recent efforts have focused on targeted molecular therapies. Epidemiological evidence points towards hormonal influences on disease development, particularly sex hormones. Several research studies have demonstrated oestrogen receptor (ER) expression in oesophageal adenocarcinoma tissue, making them a possible option for targeting with ER modulating agents. ERs are also present in laboratory models of the disease and experiments in ER-positive cell lines suggest that ER modulator therapy may be effective. A deeper understanding of the roles of ERα and ERβ in this disease would be valuable for future translation into clinical practice. In this review, we discuss the association between oestrogens and the development of oesophageal adenocarcinoma and the potential to modulate ER signalling networks for therapeutic benefit.
- oesophageal adenocarcinoma
- oestrogen receptors
- selective oestrogen receptor modulators
- upper gastrointestinal cancer