Protein survivin 'could act as pancreatic cancer biomarker'

The protein survivin could be used as a biomarker for pancreatic cancer, researchers have said, enabling scientists to more effectively diagnose the condition.

In a study of pancreatic cancer patients who had undergone tumour resection, scientists found that those individuals who underwent different treatment regimens after surgery had different levels of survivin in their systems.

There was also seen to be a link between these rates of survivin and lengths of disease-free survival, according to the research which was presented at the AACR Annual Meeting 2012.

Scientists believe this protein could also be a useful tool when it comes to understanding pancreatic cancer and identifying which patients will best respond to treatment.

Saad Khan, a medical oncology fellow at Fox Chase Cancer Center, commented: "Biomarkers for pancreatic cancer are especially useful because the survival is so poor and it's such a bad disease for people to get."

He added that the research team now want to assess if there are medications that work more effectively in patients with high levels of survivin compared to those who do not possess the protein.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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