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Test could help detect pancreatic cancer

March 31, 2013 at 11:28 PM   |   Comments

KOBE, Japan, March 31 (UPI) -- A new diagnostic test that uses metabolomic analysis may be a safe and easy screening method to detect pancreatic cancer, researchers in Japan said.

Dr. Masaru Yoshida, an associate professor at the Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, and colleagues, examined the utility of metabolomic analysis as a diagnostic method for pancreatic cancer and then validated the new approach.

"Although surgical resection can be a curative treatment for pancreatic cancer, more than 80 percent of patients with pancreatic cancer have a locally advanced or metastatic tumor that is unresectable at the time of detection," Yoshida said in a statement. "Conventional examinations using blood, imaging and endoscopy are not appropriate for pancreatic cancer screening and early detection, so a novel screening and diagnostic method for pancreatic cancer is urgently required."

The researchers measured the levels of metabolites in the blood of patients with pancreatic cancer using gas chromatography mass spectrometry on patients with chronic pancreatitis and healthy volunteers.

They randomly assigned 43 patients with pancreatic cancer and 42 healthy volunteers to a training set and 42 patients with pancreatic cancer and 41 healthy volunteers to a validation set. They included all 23 patients with chronic pancreatitis in the validation set.

Analysis of the metabolomic data generated from the training set indicated that levels of 18 metabolites were significantly different in the blood of patients with pancreatic cancer compared with the healthy volunteers, Yoshida said.

The study was published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

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