In a groundbreaking population-based study, researchers in Mayo Clinic Cancer Center found that new onset of hyperglycemic diabetes in adults age 50 or older may be a signal of underlying pancreatic cancer. The risk of developing the cancer within three years after a new diagnosis of diabetes is eight times higher than for the average same-age individual. The findings will be published in the Aug. 1 issue of Gastroenterology.
"Pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect until it is in an advanced stage, leaving little hope for patients," says Suresh Chari, M.D., Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and lead investigator of the study. "This study is important, because it leads us closer to finding indicators that will allow earlier detection and treatment."
Pancreatic cancer is a deadly disease – nearly all patients die – that claims 32,000 lives in the United States each year and has an equal number of diagnoses annually. Patients with this type of cancer seldom exhibit disease-specific symptoms until the cancer is at an advanced stage, and two major obstacles prevent physicians from making an early diagnosis. First is the lack of a high-risk group – a population of individuals, other than rare genetic disorders, in whom pancreatic cancer is common; and second is a lack of a PSA-like blood test for pancreatic cancer. Dr. Chari and his teams study shows that new-onset diabetes defines a high-risk group for pancreatic cancer.
Elizabeth Zimmermann | EurekAlert!
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