A low-cost, non-invasive test could be available for the early stage diagnosis of pancreatic cancer
In US only, around 50.000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and more than 40.000 will die from it. The sooner the cancer is diagnosed, the longer the survival period, but unfortunately, for this type of cancer, 80% of patients are being diagnosed at later stages, due to the lack of specific symptoms or due to the fact that these symptoms often get misdiagnosed as chronic pancreatitis.
Dr. Tatjana Crnogorac-Jurcevic, of the Barts Cancer Institute at Queen Mary University of London, UK and colleagues found a urine biomarker for pancreatic cancer. This way, the early-stages of pancreatic cancer 1 and 2 can be diagnosed with over 90% accuracy.
From a total of 371 analysed urine, the researchers isolated 3 specific proteins – LYVE1, REG1A and TFF1 – which were found at significantly higher levels in the urine samples of patients with pancreatic cancer, compared with the samples from chronic pancreatitis or healthy patients.
“We’ve always been keen to develop a diagnostic test in urine as it has several advantages over using blood. It’s an inert and far less complex fluid than blood and can be repeatedly and noninvasively tested. This is a biomarker panel with good specificity and sensitivity and we’re hopeful that a simple, inexpensive test can be developed and be in clinical use within the next few years”, Dr. Crnogorac-Jurcevic declared.
The researchers will conduct further testing on urine samples from individuals at high risk for pancreatic cancer, so they could determine whether increased levels of the three proteins identified are present during the latency period of the disease.