Nature: Barrett's oesophagus is an irritation of the oesophagus that can lead to oesophageal cancer
Background: A gene called FHIT is found to be defective in many forms of cancer, from breast to colon cancer. FHIT triggers damaged cells to commit suicide. Cells in which this gene is damaged by carcinogens, such as the toxins in cigarette smoke, do not die the way they normally would. Experiments have shown that cells affected by Barrett's are missing FHIT; also when mice are genetically engineered to lack a working copy of the FHIT gene, they are vulnerable to a condition that resembles Barrett's oesophagus.
Incidence: The frequency of Barrett's oesophagus in the USA is rising.
Problem Type: G: Very specific problems
Date of last update 31.03.2001 – 00:00 CEST