A protein encoded in the glypican-1 (GPC1) gene may allow for a non-invasive screening tool to detect early pancreatic cancer, according to a study published in Nature.
Raghu Kalluri, MD, PhD, and fellow researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center examined GPC1-enriched exosomes (GPC1+ crExos) from the blood of patients with pancreatic cancer.
“GPC1+ crExos were detected in small amounts of serum from about 25 patients with pancreatic cancer with absolute specificity and sensitivity, importantly distinguishing patients with chronic pancreatitis from those with early- and late-stage pancreatic cancer,” said Dr. Kalluri.
They found that GPC1+ crExos levels were significantly lower in patients upon surgical removal of the tumor. Cancer exosomes, they concluded, can be isolated to provide cancer-specific information in addition to acting as a biomarker.
With routine screening through the use of MRIs or CT scans being “prohibitively expensive,” the study authors believe that GPC1+ crExos may be used as an effective detection tool in combination with imaging.
A protein encoded by the gene glypican-1 (GPC1) present on cancer exosomes may be used as part of a potential non-invasive diagnostic and screening tool to detect early pancreatic cancer, potentially at a stage amenable to surgical treatment.