Gastrointestinal cancer (cancer of the digestive system) includes cancers of the esophagus, gallbladder, liver, pancreas, stomach, small intestine, large intestine (colon) and rectum. Some form of gastrointestinal cancer is newly diagnosed in more than 250,000 patients annually in the United States. This amounts to about 20 percent of all newly diagnosed cancers every year.
At The James, we have gastrointestinal oncologists, surgeons, and other cancer experts, and our specialized team approach provides the best cancer research and treatment. With research and treatment areas under one roof, we are able to better facilitate translating research into world-class patient care.
Physicians and researchers at Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute are continually seeking answers to questions about gastrointestinal cancer. Examples of our recent work include the following:
- Scientists at the OSUCCC – James and other institutions have discovered and traced the source of a gene mutation that apparently was brought to the United States 13 generations ago and may be responsible for certain hereditary cancers in Americans – particularly hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HPCC).
- Research developed at OSUCCC – James was the first in the world to look at the effects of adding a drug called etanercept (Enbrel®) to the current standard treatment for metastatic pancreatic cancer, a drug called gemcitabine (Gemzar®). Etanercept blocks the action of a pro-inflammatory cytokine called tumor necrosis factor (TNF), which the researchers hope will improve the quality of life for patients with pancreatic cancer.
- Additional research shows that TNF may be linked to cachexia, or skeletal muscle wasting that affects many cancer patients with advanced disease, especially those with pancreatic cancer. Scientists at the OSUCCC – James are working to understand how this happens and to devise anti-TNF therapies to stop it.
- A recently published study by Ohio State researchers shows that a celecoxib derivative has potential value as a badly needed therapeutic agent for pancreatic cancer.
Many of our physicians and researchers are members of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guideline committees, which are instrumental in establishing guidelines that direct the care and treatment of cancer patients across the country.
Faculty in The James' Division of Medical Oncology are very active in developing unique research studies in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute as well as with other organizations, including industry. Several members of the Division are engaged in basic science research involving gastrointestinal malignancies. In addition, physicians at The James participate in many cooperative studies that conduct research and develop innovative ways to treat and cure cancer. This leaves almost every area and stage of GI cancers covered with a research protocol providing our patients with additional options for treatment of these difficult cancers.
The James' Division of General & Gastrointestinal Surgery is nationally recognized for its clinical care and research contributions in minimally invasive techniques, bariatric surgery and treatment of gastro-esophageal reflux conditions, esophageal cancer, wound care, hepatobiliary and pancreatic cancer and neuroendocrine disorders of the pancreas. Diseases and cancer of the colon and rectum are specialty areas of our colorectal surgeons. All of our surgeons are board certified and all have completed fellowships. Each surgeon practices subspecialty surgery limited to each individual's area of expertise. The surgeons within the Division of Gastrointestinal Surgery are “high volume” providers assuring that their patients receive the best treatment by teams of providers with experience treating even the most unusual and complicated cases. While serving as a resource for health care throughout the region and nation, we offer the best care for each individual patient.
Studies have proven that clinical outcomes improve when patients are cared for at medical centers that treat a high volume of cases requiring advanced surgical and medical care, especially in cancers of the pancreas, esophagus and rectum. The James is considered a high-volume institution providing excellent-quality surgical care.
Gastrointestinal cancers constitute about 17 percent of the total cancer patient volume at The James. The risk of getting cancer increases with age, and inherited gene mutations or a family history of cancer may increase the risk. Knowledge is Power: Visit Clinical Cancer Genetics to learn more.
This section of the Web site will give you access to:
If you have questions about gastrointestinal cancer, please call The James Line – a free cancer information resource and physician referral service – at 614-293-5066 or 1-800-293-5066 (outside Franklin County) or e-mail now. The James Line oncology nurses can
be reached Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (except weekends and
holidays).View The James' pancreatic
cancer fact sheet.
Additional information is available in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network's Colon & Rectal Cancer Treatment Guidelines for Patients.