Sponge Sampling with Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization as a Screening Tool for the Early Detection of Esophageal Cancer

Kelly R. Haisley, James P. Dolan, Susan B. Olson, Sergio A. Toledo-Valdovinos, Kyle D. Hart, Gene Bakis, Brintha K. Enestvedt, John G. Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Introduction: Sponge cytology is a novel screening tool for esophageal cancer but has been unable to be validated for widespread use. Our aim was to apply fluorescent in situ hybridization to sponge cytology samples in order to evaluate the safety and efficacy of this modality in screening for esophageal cancer. Materials and Methods: At a single, multidisciplinary, NCI-designated cancer center, patients completed sponge cytology sampling prior to upper endoscopy. Samples were analyzed by p53 fluorescent in situ hybridization, and results were compared to the endoscopic diagnosis. Results: Fifty patients were enrolled (96 % Caucasian, 68 % male, median age of 67). All patients successfully swallowed the capsule. No complications (string breakage, bleeding, mucosal injury) occurred. Endoscopy revealed that 38 % had normal esophageal mucosa and 62 % had an esophageal mucosal abnormality. In total, six samples demonstrated p53 loss (94 % specificity for any abnormality). The sensitivity of the p53 fluorescent in situ hybridization probe was13.3 % for any abnormality, 10 % for intestinal metaplasia, and 0 % for dysplasia or esophageal cancer. Discussion: Esophageal sponge cytology is a promising, safe, and tolerable method for collecting esophageal cell samples. However, our data suggest that p53 fluorescent in situ hybridization does not improve the sensitivity for detecting cancer in these samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-221
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Esophageal cancer
  • Esophageal sponge
  • Fluorescent in situ hybridization
  • Oesophageal cancer
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Gastroenterology


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