A three-protein signature that can both identify the most common form of pancreatic cancer at an early stage and distinguish it from chronic pancreatitis has been found by a team of researchers at Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London. The discovery could lead to a novel test for screening people at high risk using a urine sample.
Urine samples from patients with pancreatic cancer were found to have higher levels of LYVE1, REG1A, and TFF1, compared with samples from healthy patients; patients with chronic pancreatitis has significantly lower levels of the proteins than those with cancer.
The three proteins were selected for closer examination based on biological information and performance in statistical analysis.
Combined, they form a robust panel that can detect stages I-II pancreatic cancer with over 90% accuracy. Furthermore, using urine, an inert and less complex fluid than blood, is advantageous in that obtaining samples is noninvasive and can be done repeatedly.
The biomarker panel has good specificity and sensitivity. Pancreatic cancer is diagnosed in more than 80% of patients with the disease after it has already spread, significantly reducing eligibility for curative treatment options.
The researchers are hopeful that a simple, inexpensive test can be developed for use in the clinic within the next few years.
A combination of three proteins found at high levels in urine can accurately detect early-stage pancreatic cancer, UK researchers have found. The discovery could lead to a non-invasive, inexpensive test to screen people at high risk of developing the disease.