Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult to detect cancers of the body. But now a new test might be able to decipher it much earlier, therefore improving a patient’s chances of surviving.

CBS news reports on a new study.

An innovative team has come up with a test that can detect pancreatic cancer in its initial stages.

What kind of test is it?

The exam will be a urine test geared towards detecting pancreatic cancer. Generally, symptoms of this fatal disease do not appear until it is at an advanced stage and has dissipated, and little can be done to save the patient. Experts have been searching for a way to screen people for pancreatic cancer in the hopes that early detection might lead to a good treatment plan.

Dr. Tatjana Crnogorac-Jurcevic, a reader in cancer genomics at the Centre for Molecular Oncology at Barts Cancer Institute of Queen Mary University of London, was the lead researcher of the study. Dr. Jurcevic said, “If this test proves to be as good as we hope, we could make an important difference and enable early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer completely noninvasively, using urine samples.”

The researchers found three indicators (or markers) that, when put together, signal the start of pancreatic cancer. The journal Clinical Cancer Research published the report on Monday.

How was the study conducted?

The Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, a British charity, funded the study. Experts scrutinized almost five hundred urine samples, including 192 from patients with pancreatic cancer, 92 from patients with chronic pancreatitis and 87 from healthy people. Researchers also looked at 117 urine samples from patients with diseases of the liver and gall bladder. These samples were utilized to confirm their analysis.

“Of the 1,500 proteins found in the urine samples, Crnogorac-Jurcevic's team focused on three: LYVE1, REG1A and TFF1. The researchers found that patients with pancreatic cancer had elevated levels of all three proteins compared with healthy patients and patients with pancreatitis,” according to CBS. Utilizing all three proteins, they were able to decipher early stage pancreatic cancer more than 90 percent of the time.

Who should be tested?

Despite the fact that the cause of pancreatic cancer is not known, those at risk include people with a family history of the disease, smokers, people who are overweight and those over the age of 50 with newly diagnosed diabetes.

The research team is hoping to do more tests on urine samples from people at high risk to further validate their results. “Dr. Leonard Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society, said the findings are very preliminary and more research is needed to see if a screening test could be developed based on these three markers,” according to CBS.

Read the source article here.
Gerry Oginski
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