The findings are reported in "Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor, a Novel and Highly Accurate Pancreatic Fluid Biomarker for Serous Pancreatic Cysts" online in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.
A benign pancreatic cyst is evident at the tip of the clamp in this photo.
The test, which analyzes fluid from pancreatic cysts, can identify a common type of benign cyst that can’t be differentiated by imaging alone from cysts that may progress to pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cyst fluid is tested for a biomarker, a specific isoform of vascular endothelial growth factor A, or VEGF-A. Pancreatic cyst fluid is often obtained in patients with pancreatic cysts as a part of standard testing during endoscopy. High levels of VEGF-A indicate with 99 percent accuracy that the cyst will not become malignant, the researchers found after analyzing the results of 87 patients.
First author Michele T. Yip-Schneider, Ph.D., associate research professor of surgery, and senior author C. Max Schmidt, M.D., Ph.D., MBA, professor of surgery, biochemistry and molecular biology, report this is the first cyst fluid protein biomarker that can differentiate serous cystic neoplasms, a benign type of cystic lesion, from all other cancerous or precancerous cystic lesions without surgery.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers in part because it is frequently diagnosed late and treatment options are somewhat limited. According to the National Cancer Institute, about 45,220 people will be diagnosed this year with pancreatic cancer and about 38,460 will die from the disease.
Treatments may include chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, but few patients are cured.
“Only 15 percent of pancreatic cancer patients will benefit from surgery, and of those, only about 20 percent will survive five years,” said Dr. Schmidt, who is a researcher with the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center and director of the IU Health Pancreatic Cyst and Cancer Early Detection Center.
Complications from pancreatic surgery are common and can be life threatening, so sparing a patient unnecessary surgery is important, Dr. Schmidt said.
“As scientists, we have tried to figure out which cystic lesions are benign, which are pre-cancerous and which are malignant,” Dr. Yip-Schneider said. “Although pancreatic cysts are best seen on pancreatic MRI-MRCP, making a diagnosis of which type of cyst and how likely cancer will develop is not usually possible through imaging alone.”
Surgery is not the panacea that patients frequently hope for, and the majority of pancreatic cancer patients aren’t even eligible due to the advanced stage of the disease at presentation.
Pancreatic cysts and cancer are becoming more common in the American population. It is unclear why, but pancreatic cancer is clearly associated with obesity, smoking and a family history of pancreatic cancer.
Today, about 3 percent of the U.S. population has pancreatic cysts, although many are asymptomatic and go undiagnosed. Most of these cysts are pre-cancerous, but some are completely benign while others are cancerous. Patients go through extensive follow-up medical visits, invasive biopsies and sometimes unnecessary surgery to determine the true nature of their pancreatic cyst. The novel marker VEGF-A can completely eliminate the need for this extensive follow-up and potential harm for patients with unrecognized benign cysts, the researchers said.
“Many of my patients when initially told they have pancreatic cysts are very fearful and ask for surgical removal of the cyst or the entire pancreas before they even learn their options,” Dr. Schmidt said. “Now, physicians will have an outpatient procedure to offer that can take some of the guesswork out of the equation.”
A short video describing this research can be found at http://youtu.be/NGLh6rjOPvs.Media Contacts
Mary Hardin | EurekAlert!
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
Snap, Digest, Respire
20.01.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences
20.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences