3 August 2015
A genetic discovery has opened the door to a simple urine test that can detect the early stages of pancreatic cancer.
Three proteins have been identified as biomarkers for the initial development of the cancer, and are also distinct from the signs of pancreatitis, an inflammatory condition which has previously been hard to distinguish from cancer.
Pancreatic cancer is still particularly deadly in the UK, as 80 per cent of patients do not receive a diagnosis until the cancer has spread, due to a lack of early symptoms. Partly as a result of this, the five-year survival rate has remained at three per cent for the last 40 years.
A team of researchers at the Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, found that the proteins LYVE1, REG1A and TFF1 combined to detect stage I and II pancreatic cancer with 90 per cent accuracy.
The scientists hope that the test will soon be available to screen patients known to be at high risk of the cancer. Factors associated with elevated incidences of pancreatic cancer include obesity, heavy smoking, post-50 onset diabetes and a family history of the disease.
Posted by Edward Bartel
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