Molecular marker from pancreatic 'juices' helps identify pancreatic cancer

May 20, 2013

Researchers at Mayo Clinic have developed a promising method to distinguish between pancreatic cancer and chronic pancreatitis—two disorders that are difficult to tell apart. A molecular marker obtained from pancreatic "juices" can identify almost all cases of pancreatic cancer, their study shows. The findings were being presented at Digestive Disease Week 2013 in Orlando, Fla.

"Many researchers have been working on such a diagnostic test for a long time—for me, it has been 20 years," says lead investigator Massimo Raimondo, M.D., a at Mayo Clinic in Florida. "But for the first time, we have found a very strong candidate .

"We all want a foolproof method to detect pancreatic cancer in our patients so that we can deliver appropriate therapy, as soon as possible," Dr. Raimondo adds. "While we know more research is needed, including validation of our findings, we can't help but be excited about this advance."

Pancreatic cancer and both produce the same signs of disease in the , such as inflammation, but cancer in the organ is a life-threatening disorder that must be treated immediately and aggressively, Dr. Raimondo says.

The research team, which included investigators from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., tested a method that examined secretions from the pancreas during a routine upper endoscopy.

In patients suspected of having chronic pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer, physicians use a thin flexible scope to examine the upper digestive tract. In this study, during such routine , physicians injected the substance secretin intravenously, to fool the pancreas into believing the stomach contains food that the pancreas needs to help digest. The organ then secreted juice rich in enzymes to help break down the food, along with exfoliated cells, and the researchers collected some of this fluid.

They examined the juice for markers that might distinguish the two disorders, and discovered that the altered gene CD1D, as a single marker, detected 75 percent of patients later diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, but was present in only 9 percent of patients with chronic pancreatitis.

"CD1D performed much better than any other pancreatic secretion marker previously tested in identifying pancreatic cancer," Dr. Raimondo says.

The research team is working on further improving the accuracy of this promising molecular diagnostic approach.

"These results on Dr. Raimondo's carefully collected samples are really exciting and have clear practice-changing implications," says co-author David Ahlquist, M.D., who led the collaborating laboratory team at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Diagnostic accuracy well above 90 percent is possible, he says.

When such a biomarker test is perfected, it could be used not only to distinguish pancreatic cancer from chronic pancreatitis, but, potentially, as a screening test for patients at high risk for , Dr. Raimondo says.

Explore further: New metabolite-based diagnostic test could help detect pancreatic cancer early

Related Stories

New metabolite-based diagnostic test could help detect pancreatic cancer early

March 29, 2013
A new diagnostic test that uses a scientific technique known as metabolomic analysis may be a safe and easy screening method that could improve the prognosis of patients with pancreatic cancer through earlier detection.

Cancer-causing gene alone doesn't trigger pancreatic cancer, study finds

September 10, 2012
More than a cancer-causing gene is needed to trigger pancreatic cancer, a study led by Mayo Clinic has found. A second factor creates a "perfect storm" that allows tumors to form, the researchers say. The study, published ...

Pancreatic cancer diagnosis under review

April 23, 2013
A team of researchers of the UPV/EHU together with researchers from the Hospital Clínico of Barcelona have produced a bibliographical review that summarises the data currently existing on the markers for pancreatic cancer, ...

Mayo Clinic reports new findings on noninvasive test for pancreatic cancer

May 11, 2011
Pancreatic cancer has one of the highest mortality rates of any of the major cancers, and of the 43,000-plus Americans diagnosed with the disease each year, more than 94 percent die within five years of diagnosis. One reason ...

Molecular master switch for pancreatic cancer identified, potential predictor of treatment outcome

February 12, 2013
A recently described master regulator protein may explain the development of aberrant cell growth in the pancreas spurred by inflammation

Diagnosis and management of pancreatic cancer: A review for physicians

April 22, 2013
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of death from cancer, and while family physicians in Canada only see 1 cases a year, the number of cases is expected to increase as the population ages. A review in CMAJ (Canadian ...

Recommended for you

Clear link between heavy vitamin B intake and lung cancer

August 22, 2017
New research suggests long-term, high-dose supplementation with vitamins B6 and B12—long touted by the vitamin industry for increasing energy and improving metabolism—is associated with a two- to four-fold increased lung ...

Study provides insight into link between two rare tumor syndromes

August 22, 2017
UCLA researchers have discovered that timing is everything when it comes to preventing a specific gene mutation in mice from developing rare and fast-growing cancerous tumors, which also affects young children. This mutation ...

Retaining one normal BRCA gene in breast, ovarian cancers influences patient survival

August 22, 2017
Determining which cancer patients are likely to be resistant to initial treatment is a major research effort of oncologists and laboratory scientists. Now, ascertaining who might fall into that category may become a little ...

Study identifies miR122 target sites in liver cancer and links a gene to patient survival

August 22, 2017
A new study of a molecule that regulates liver-cell metabolism and suppresses liver-cancer development shows that the molecule interacts with thousands of genes in liver cells, and that when levels of the molecule go down, ...

Zebrafish larvae could be used as 'avatars' to optimize personalized treatment of cancer

August 21, 2017
Portuguese scientists have for the first time shown that the larvae of a tiny fish could one day become the preferred model for predicting, in advance, the response of human malignant tumors to the various therapeutic drugs ...

Scientists discover vitamin C regulates stem cell function, curbs leukemia development

August 21, 2017
Not much is known about stem cell metabolism, but a new study from the Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) has found that stem cells take up unusually high levels of vitamin C, which then ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.