According to a study, the presence of three proteins in urine can be used to detect some early stage pancreatic cancer with over 90% accuracy.
High levels of a combination of three proteins in urine seem to be a good indicator of pancreatic cancer in early stages of development, according to British researchers. Their study, published in the United States offers hope for early detection.
Combined, these three proteins can be used to detect some advanced pancreatic cancer with over 90% accuracy, they said. They also reiterated that there is currently no test for early detection of this tumor.
The discovery could pave the way for a non-invasive and inexpensive screening of people considered at high risk of developing this very aggressive cancer. Symptoms of this cancer occur most often when it is already very advanced and that surgery is no longer useful.
The research team from Barts Cancer Institute, fromQueen Mary University in London, analyzed urine samples from 488 people, including 192 already diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, 92 suffering from pancreatitis and 87 that were healthy. Researchers also analyzed 117 other patients urine samples with other benign liver disease or liver cancer and gall bladder problems.
The analyzed urine contained about 1,500 proteins. Proteins called LYVE1, REG1A and TFF1, were selected to be further investigated.
Patients with pancreatic cancer had significantly higher levels of each of these three proteins in their urine compared to people in good health. Patients with chronic pancreatitis had significantly lower levels than those with cancer, the researchers found.
With few specific symptoms of pancreatic cancer manifested even at an advanced stage of the disease, it is already widespread in more than 80% of patients at diagnosis. Therefore, they can not be operated to withdraws the tumor that has spread.
The survival rate at five years for pancreatic cancer is 3%, the lowest of all cancers. This rate has barely improved in 40 years.
Although there is no known universal cause of pancreatic cancer, those considered to have a greater risk have a family history of the disease, are heavy smokers, obese or became diabetic after 50 years.