publication date: Aug. 3, 2017

Pancreatic Cancer

Combined molecular biology test can identify patients with benign pancreatic abnormalities

When performed in tandem, two molecular biology laboratory tests distinguish, with near certainty, pancreatic lesions that mimic early signs of cancer but are benign.

The lesions almost never progress to cancer, so patients may be spared unnecessary pancreatic cancer screenings or operations. The two-test combination is the only one to date that can accurately and specifically identify these benign pancreatic lesions.

Its utility was described in one of the largest studies of patients with this form of pancreatic lesion by researchers from Indiana University, Indianapolis. The results of the study now appear in an “article in press” in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

A small percentage of patients have serous cystic neoplasms that do not harbor malignant potential or progress to cancer. These patients undergo imaging or other surveillance every six months to spot changes indicative of cancer, or they undergo an operation to remove part of the gland as a precaution because SCN are difficult to find using standard diagnostic methods.

More than 60 percent of SCN are not predicted preoperatively and 50 to 70 percent are missed or incorrectly diagnosed on radiology scans. The researchers determined that two proteins can play a significant role in ruling out precancer and cancer. Vascular endothelial growth factor A is a protein associated with promotion of new blood vessel formation.

VEGF-A is upregulated in many tumors, and its expression can be correlated with a tumor’s stage. Its utility in the diagnosis of pancreatic cysts was discovered by researchers at Indiana University. Carcinoembryonic antigen is a protein associated with cell adhesion. It is present in low levels in healthy individuals, but it is increased with certain types of cancers.

Tests for … Continue reading CCL July 2017 – Combined molecular biology test can identify patients with benign pancreatic abnormalities

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