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Mayo finds new test for pancreatic cancer

New York, May 22, 2011

Researchers at Mayo Clinic in the US believe they have found a new way to test for pancreatic cancer.

The procedure involves DNA testing of patients’ stool samples. The research was presented at the 2011 Digestive Disease Week conference, held in Chicago.

“We know with colon cancer that we can detect some molecular signatures of cancers and pre-cancers, and we were interested in trying to determine if we could do the same thing, specifically with a stool test, for pancreas cancer,” said Dr John Kisiel, Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist, who presented the study’s findings.

The study focused on detecting methylations in stool samples of 127 patients, 60 diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 67 who were not diagnosed with cancer.

Methylation is a type of DNA modification strongly associated with cancers and pre-cancers. The research team wanted to test if they could reliably detect any types of methylated genes in the stool samples of those in the study group who had already been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

“We found that a marker was reliably detected in both tissue samples and in the stools of pancreatic cancer patients, and that it compared favorably with another kind of marker - the mutation of a gene called KRAS,” says Dr Kisiel.

“When we looked at those two markers together, the combined accuracy of both markers was significantly better than with either marker alone.”

Overall, the methylated marker (called BMP3) and the mutated KRAS genes were detected in 70 percent of those in the study who had pancreatic cancer, he said.

The screening detected the markers regardless of the stage of cancer or the location of the cancer within the pancreas.

These findings may lead to more early detection of pancreatic cancer, which could significantly increase the survival rate for those who have the disease. –TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Mayo Clinic | pancreatic cancer | DNA test |

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