In a remarkable breakthrough, researchers have developed a groundbreaking artificial intelligence (AI) tool that has the potential to revolutionize the prevention of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) and gastric cardia adenocarcinoma (GCA), two highly fatal forms of cancer that have been on the rise in the United States and other western countries over the past five decades.
Led by Joel Rubenstein, M.D., M.S., a research scientist at the Lieutenant Colonel Charles S. Kettles Veterans Affairs Center for Clinical Management Research and professor of internal medicine at Michigan Medicine, the team embarked on a mission to develop an AI tool called the Kettles Esophageal and Cardia Adenocarcinoma predictioN (K-ECAN).
K-ECAN utilizes patient data already available in the electronic health record (EHR) such as demographics, weight, previous diagnoses, and routine laboratory results to accurately predict an individual’s risk of developing EAC and GCA. Unlike previous tools, K-ECAN does not require additional measurements or the use of external websites to calculate risk.
The AI tool has proven to be incredibly accurate, surpassing published guidelines and previously validated prediction tools. K-ECAN can predict the onset of cancer at least three years before a diagnosis is made, giving patients a significant head start in prevention and treatment.
One of the most significant advantages of K-ECAN is its ability to identify patients at elevated risk, irrespective of whether they have experienced symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or not. GERD symptoms, such as heartburn, are a known risk factor for EAC. However, half of the patients diagnosed with EAC and GCA had no prior history of GERD symptoms, making K-ECAN an invaluable tool in preventing these cancers.
By integrating K-ECAN into the EHR system, healthcare providers can receive automated notifications about patients at increased risk, enabling early intervention and personalized screening recommendations. This technology has the potential to save countless lives and significantly reduce the burden of these deadly diseases.
What is esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) and gastric cardia adenocarcinoma (GCA)?
EAC is a form of cancer that affects the esophagus, the tube that connects the throat to the stomach. GCA is a type of cancer that develops in the upper part of the stomach, close to where it connects to the esophagus.
What is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?
GERD is a chronic condition where the acidic contents of the stomach flow back into the esophagus, causing symptoms like heartburn.
How does K-ECAN work?
K-ECAN utilizes patient data from electronic health records to accurately predict an individual’s risk of developing EAC and GCA. It considers factors such as demographics, weight, previous diagnoses, and routine laboratory results.
How accurate is K-ECAN?
K-ECAN has been proven to be more accurate than published guidelines and previously validated prediction tools. It can predict the onset of cancer at least three years before diagnosis.
Can K-ECAN predict cancer in patients who do not have GERD symptoms?
Yes, K-ECAN can identify individuals at elevated risk of developing EAC and GCA, regardless of whether they have experienced GERD symptoms or not.
Sources: Gastroenterology Journal (URL: gastrojournal.org)