Gastric Cancer Awareness Month
Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is a disease in which cancer cells form in the lining of the stomach. The wall of the stomach is made up of three layers of tissue: the mucosal layer, the muscularis layer, and the serosal layer. Stomach cancer begins in the cells lining the mucosal layer and spreads through the outer layers as it grows.
Most stomach cancers – about 90 percent – are adenocarcinomas, cancers that form in mucus-secreting glands. About 5 percent of them are lymphomas, cancers that form in the immune system. Additionally, some stomach tumors are of the carcinoid type, a slow-growing type of neuroendocrine cancers.
Stromal tumors of the stomach begin in supporting connective tissue and are treated differently from gastric cancer.
An estimated 26,380 new cases of stomach cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 11,090 people are expected to die from the disease in 2022, according to the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program of the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Men are more commonly diagnosed with stomach cancer than women. Moreover, stomach cancer is less frequent among non-Hispanic whites than people of other races and ethnicities. Risk factors include smoking, age, diet, and long-term stomach inflammation, such as infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria, according to the NCI.
What Is the AACR Doing in The Area of Gastric Cancer or Stomach Cancer?
Ana Estrada-Florez, PhD, of the University of California, Davis, was awarded the AACR Fellowship to Further Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Cancer Disparities Research to support her work on gastric cancer, which is more prevalent among Latinos than among non-Latino whites. Dr. Estrada-Florez is conducting a genetic study of gastric cancer risk in deidentified patients of Latino ancestry. Genetic variants with likely functional consequences for tumor initiation and/or progression will be selected to generate isogenic gastric organoids to investigate their effect on proliferation, differentiation, and gene expression. The study aims to generate a body of knowledge useful for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gastric cancer.
In partnership with Debbie’s Dream Foundation: Curing Stomach Cancer, the AACR has awarded grants to 16 gastric cancer researchers since 2014. The most recent Debbie’s Dream awardee is Moritz Eissmann, PhD, La Trobe University in Australia, who was awarded a grant in 2022. Eissmann will use a new 3D cell culture model that he developed to determine how inflammatory processes that depend on the Stat3 signaling pathway influence the behavior of gastric cancer cells. In addition, he is set to explore the therapeutic potential of combining an immune checkpoint blockade antibody with a targeted drug against Stat3.