Protein biomarker for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Protein biomarker for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

News Researchers in the USA have created a biomarker panel that can detect earlystage and late-stage pancreatic cancer. In earlier work, with a cell ...

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Researchers in the USA have created a biomarker panel that can detect earlystage and late-stage pancreatic cancer. In earlier work, with a cell model that mimics the progression of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, the investi­ gators identified 107 proteins that are secreted and released by early-stage disease. In this study, they found that one such protein, thrombospondin-2 (THBS2), could distinguish all stages of the disease from healthy tissue. Jungsun Kim (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA) and colleagues used plasma samples from patients with different stages of pancreatic cancer and from healthy controls to do a threestage validation study. The discovery analysis found that THBS2 could differentiate between cancer cells (n=10) and controls (n=10): receiver operating characteristic c-statistic 0·76 (95% CI 0·56–0·95). The first validation

confirmed THBS2 as a marker in a set of plasma samples (n=189) that included CA19‑9-negative and CA19-9-positive cancers (c-statistic 0·84 [95% CI 0·80–0·90]). The second validation (n=537) found that combining THBS2 and CA19-9 yielded a c-statistic of 0·97 (95% CI 0·96–0·98). Specificity of the combination was 98% and sensitivity 87%. “Expression of THBS2 is elevated in early lesions, gets higher as the disease progresses, and finally is expressed not only by the cancer cells themselves but also by cells in the tissue environment”, explained coauthor Kenneth Zaret (University of Pennsylvania). “The statistics are still not good enough for general population screening but they appear good enough for high-risk groups”, Zaret said. He added that the next step will be to test the performance of the biomarker panel against plasma

samples collected prospectively prediagnosis. “This is excellent work; there is a strong unmet need for biomarkers to detect early-stage disease”, commented Anguraj Sadanandam (Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK). “Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is not a homogeneous disease, so we will have to see whether the biomarkers can identify all the different molecular subgroups.” He added that the researchers identified several other potential biomarkers that also warrant further investigation. “It is a very good first step”, said Philip Philip (Karmanos Cancer Institute, Detroit, MI, USA). “But we will need longitudinal studies to determine the exact role of this test; the most important thing will be to show that the test can lead to a reduction in mortality from pancreatic cancer.”

USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center/ National Cancer Institute/SPL

Protein biomarker for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Lancet Oncol 2017 Published Online July 20, 2017 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/ S1470-2045(17)30564-8 For the study by Kim and colleagues see Sci Transl Med 2017; published online July 12. DOI:10.1126/scitranslmed. aah5583

Talha Burki

www.thelancet.com/oncology Published online July 20, 2017 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(17)30564-8

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