Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

MicroRNAs circulating in blood show promise as biomarkers to detect pancreatic cancer

08.09.2009
A blood test for small molecules abnormally expressed in pancreatic cancer may be a promising route to early detection of the disease, researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center report in the September edition of the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

The team's analysis of four microRNAs (miRNA) found in the blood plasma of pancreatic cancer patients is proof of principle to further develop a blood test for this evasive disease, said senior author Subrata Sen, Ph.D., associate professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Molecular Pathology.

"Increased expression of microRNAs is known to be involved with specific genetic pathways and processes responsible for the development of cancer-associated changes in cells," Sen said. "Detection of elevated levels of miRNAs in blood plasma of pancreatic cancer patients as informative biomarkers of disease appears to be a promising, novel approach for developing a minimally invasive assay for detecting this disease."

There is no accurate, noninvasive way to detect pancreatic cancer, the fourth-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Fewer than 5 percent of patients survive to five years.

MicroRNAs are single-stranded bits of RNA consisting of 18 to 24 nucleotides that regulate the messenger RNA (mRNA) expressed by genes to tell a cell's protein-making machinery what protein to make.

The four targeted microRNAs previously had been associated in varied ways with pancreatic cancer or with precancerous lesions. Expression of the four was analyzed in 28 patients with pancreatic cancer and 19 healthy people.

The four combined markers accurately identified 64 percent (sensitivity) of the pancreatic cancer cases and correctly identified 89 percent of those without disease (specificity). That degree of sensitivity and specificity are good for a pilot study but don't yet rise to the levels required for translation in the clinic, which would require investigating more circulating microRNAs in blood in a larger sample of persons representing different stages of the disease and healthy controls.

The study's small sample size, which compared only the extremes of pancreatic cancer or the complete absence of the disease, is a limitation, but the results justify continued development of this strategy, Sen said.

One of the miRNAs in the study is overexpressed in precursor lesions that can lead to full pancreatic cancer. "The fact that a microRNA reported to be overexpressed in pre-invasive pancreatic cancer could be detected in blood plasma from pancreatic cancer patients raises the possibility that a blood test for detecting pre-invasive pancreatic cancer may become a reality," Sen said.

Marker miRNAs used in the study were miR-21, miR-210, miR-155 and miR-196a.

Sen and colleagues are working with the Early Detection Research Network of the National Cancer Institute to develop studies with larger sample sizes that are designed to test miRNA markers associated with different grades and stages of the disease.

The project was funded by grants from the National Cancer Institute.

Co-authors with Sen are first author Jin Wang, Ph.D., and Aimee LeBlanc, BS, also of Molecular Pathology; Jinyun Chen, Ph.D. and Marsha Frazier, Ph.D., of M. D. Anderson's Department of Epidemiology; Ping Chang, Donghui Li, Ph.D., and James Abbruzzese, M.D., all of the Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology; and Ann Killary, Ph.D., of the Department of Genetics.

About MD Anderson

The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston ranks as one of the world's most respected centers focused on cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. M. D. Anderson is one of only 40 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute. For six of the past eight years, including 2009, M. D. Anderson has ranked No. 1 in cancer care in "America's Best Hospitals," a survey published annually in U.S. News & World Report.

Scott Merville | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mdanderson.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Fine organic particles in the atmosphere are more often solid glass beads than liquid oil droplets
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie

nachricht Study overturns seminal research about the developing nervous system
21.04.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>