Solid Tumors

A key area of BeiGene’s research focus is carcinoma. Carcinoma is a term for cancers that originate in epithelial tissue, or tissue that lines the organs and internal passageways of the body. As carcinoma cells grow and multiply, they form solid masses or tumors on the organs that are lined by affected epithelial tissue. This includes the skin, lungs, breasts, prostate, colon, kidneys, pancreas, and so on.

Many procedures and drugs are available for the treatment of carcinoma, with many more being studied. Treatment options for carcinomas can include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy. At BeiGene, we have focused our research on carcinomas of the esophagus, stomach and lungs, where we see opportunities to pursue better outcomes through immuno-oncology targets. Targeted immuno-oncology therapies, such as monoclonal antibodies, can treat carcinoma by blocking certain proteins, called checkpoint proteins, from binding with their partner proteins. This allows the body’s T-cells to kill cancer cells by preventing the signal that turns them off.

What is Esophageal SCC?

Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (esophageal SCC or SCC of the esophagus) is one of the two main types of esophageal cancer. It originates in squamous cells, which are thin, flat cells that line the surface of the esophagus, the hollow tube that runs from the back of the throat to the stomach. Esophageal SCC occurs most often in the upper and middle portions of the esophagus, where abnormal carcinoma cells accumulate and form solid tumors.

Signs & Symptoms

Often, symptoms will not appear until the tumor is already in the advanced stage. Common signs or symptoms may include:

  • Trouble swallowing
  • Chest pain
  • Weight loss
  • Indigestion and heartburn
  • Hoarseness


ESCC is the most common type of esophageal cancer worldwide, accounting for nearly 90% of the 604,100 cases of esophageal cancer each year.

What is Gastric Adenocarcinoma?

Nearly all cases of stomach cancer, or gastric cancer, are adenocarcinomas. Gastric adenocarcinomas originate in the mucus-producing cells in the innermost lining of the stomach known as the mucosa. When a person has gastric adenocarcinoma, these cells behave abnormally and can spread from the mucosa into nearby normal tissue. Gastric adenocarcinoma is divided into two main classes, depending on where it forms in the stomach:

Gastric cardia cancer: begins in the top inch of the stomach, just below where it meets the esophagus

Non-cardia gastric cancer: begins in all other sections of the stomach

Signs & Symptoms

  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss (without trying)
  • Abdominal (belly) pain
  • Vague discomfort in the abdomen, usually above the navel
  • Feeling full after eating only a small meal
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting, with or without blood
  • Swelling or fluid build-up in the abdomen
  • Blood in the stool
  • Feeling tired or weak, as a result of having too few red blood cells (anemia)
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), if the cancer spreads to the liver


Gastric cancer is the fifth most common cancer worldwide and the fifth highest leading cause of cancer mortality. Nearly 1 million new patients were diagnosed with gastric cancer in 2022, and 660,000 deaths were reported globally.

What is GEJ Adenocarcinoma?

Gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma is a type of stomach cancer. It originates in mucus-producing cells that line the area called the gastroesophageal (GE) junction. This junction is where the esophagus meets the top inch of the stomach, or gastric cardia. With GEJ adenocarcinoma, abnormal cells accumulate here to form solid tumors.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Difficulty or painful swallowing
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive flow of saliva or drooling
  • Weight loss


As of 2020, an estimated 604,100 people were diagnosed with esophageal cancer globally, which includes both esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and esophageal adenocarcinoma (which encompasses GEJ adenocarcinoma).

What is NSCLC?

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) originates in the cells that line the surface of the lungs and airways. There are several types of NSCLC, each type having different kinds of cancer cells. These cancer cells grow and spread in different ways. Common types of NSCLC include:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC): forms in squamous cells, the thin, flat cells that line the inner surfaces of the lungs. Also known as epidermoid carcinoma.
  • Large-cell carcinoma (LCC): forms in several types of large cells.
  • Adenocarcinoma: forms in mucus-producing cells that line alveoli, the tiny air sacs within the lungs

Signs & Symptoms

NSCLC is typically slow-growing and causes few or no symptoms until it is advanced. Symptoms may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing that lingers or worsens over time or coughing up blood
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Trouble breathing or wheezing
  • Hoarseness
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Recurring infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia
  • Swelling in your face or the veins in your neck


According to data from 2020, there are approximately 1.8 million new cases of NSCLC worldwide annually.