Novel biomarker panel accurately diagnoses pancreatic cancer

Reuters Health Information: Novel biomarker panel accurately diagnoses pancreatic cancer

Novel biomarker panel accurately diagnoses pancreatic cancer

Last Updated: 2017-11-29

By Will Boggs MD

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A novel four-protein biomarker panel can accurately diagnose pancreatic cancer, researchers from China report.

"We believe that developing a fast and stable pipeline for scanning targeted proteins in a large scale of samples may accelerate our pace to find new panels of protein biomarkers, drug targets, or even construct individual proteomes for precise medicine in the future," Dr. Pengyuan Yang from Fudan University, in Shanghai, told Reuters Health by email.

Most pancreatic cancer is diagnosed at an advanced stage, and the median survival rate after diagnosis is less than 6%. Earlier diagnosis could lead to earlier treatment and possibly better prognosis.

Dr. Yang and colleagues combined a variety of mass spectrometry techniques to analyze 150 serum samples from healthy controls, patients with benign diseases and patients with pancreatic cancer.

They identified 142 differentially expressed proteins and ultimately included four proteins in their biomarker panel: APOE, ITIH3, APOA1, and APOL1.

The individual proteins were able to distinguish pancreatic-cancer patients from healthy controls with accuracies ranging from 66.9% to 89.6%, as determined by area under the curve (AUC). The combination of all four increased the accuracy to 93.7%.

The four-protein biomarker panel diagnosed pancreatic cancer with a sensitivity of 85% and a specificity of 94.1%, the researchers report in the British Journal of Cancer, online November 9.

Incorporating CA 19-9, a less accurate blood-based biomarker, into the panel would increase the AUC to 99%, with a sensitivity of 95% and a specificity of 94.1%.

The researchers further validated the new panel of biomarkers by demonstrating their expression in tumor samples using immunohistochemistry.

"There is a long way to the clinical application of these biomarker candidates," Dr. Yang said. "FDA just authorized a panel of biomarkers of cancer from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center's named IMPACT (Integrated Mutation Profiling of Actionable Cancer Targets) tumor profiling test assay today. The IMPACT can rapidly identify the presence of mutations of 468 unique genes as well as other molecular changes in the genomic makeup of a person's tumor."


Br J Cancer 2017.

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