Pancreatic cancer is one of the “big killers”, the great killers, with over 430,000 victims every year according to the most serious estimates. And while research into screening tools is making great strides with new tests that identify cervical, breast, colon and rectal cancers in their early stages, sadly today only 10% of pancreatic cancers are found. diagnosed in time to be successfully operated and as little as 5% in the initial phase.
Pancreatic cancer, more research and patient care
by Barbara Orrico
Finding new and increasingly effective methods of recognizing it when it has not yet begun to show symptoms on the patient is vital for the patient’s survival. This is what a new work published on Nature Communication Medicine the first signature Scott Lippmandirector of the prestigious Moores Cancer Center of the University of California e Adrew Lowyclinical director of Oncology Surgery al Moores.
The study, involving 139 stage 1 or 2 cancer patients and 184 controls, is the first clinical trial conducted on this type of platform called High conductance dielectrophoresis, developed at the Moores Cancer Center 12 years ago. “The technique is based on the detection of extracellular vesicles (EVs) and on the analysis of protein markers with the help of artificial intelligence to predict the probability that they are malignant cells,” the publication reads. EVs are microscopic vesicles that circulate in the blood and other biological fluids such as urine or tears and are produced by both normal and pathological cellular processes. “In this second case – the San Diego researchers write – they contain tumor proteins put into circulation by the tumor cells themselves and are part of a still little known intracellular communication network”.
Early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer: who is most at risk?
by Tina Simoniello
The test developed by Lippman and colleagues take the patient’s blood, extract the extracellular vesicles and identify the possible presence of tumor proteins inside them. Pancreatic cancer is now considered the deadliest malignant neoplasm, because patients rarely show symptoms before the disease is already in advanced stages. It is the cancer with the lowest 5-year survival rate of all “killer” cancers and is the only one for which both incidence and mortality are increasing.
Lifesaving early diagnosis
The screening platform developed by the Californian group of scientists identified 95.5% of first stage pancreatic cancers. But not only: the same approach has shown excellent performance on ovarian cancer, with 74.4% of cases identified, and on high-grade serous carcinoma, with the effectiveness dropping (slightly) to 73.1%.
Pancreatic cancer: early diagnosis in the future with a stool test
by Mara Magistroni
“Accuracy with respect to pancreatic cancer is particularly promising,” he notes Lippman. “These results – continues the expert – are five times more accurate than current liquid biopsy techniques (samples of venous blood on which molecular analyzes are performed n.d.a.) in the identification of early stage cancer “. Liquid biopsy tests, in fact, are proving to be excellent weapons for monitoring the progress of therapies or relapses, but” they can sometimes cause serious damage due to a number that is still unacceptable of false positives, which then lead actually healthy subjects to undergo diagnostic tests that are not only expensive, but often dangerous or with serious contraindications “, reads the conclusions.
“If we can validate this new test platform with further studies and on larger populations – he concludes Lippman – we could significantly reduce the mortality of this terrible disease, which is about to become the second leading cause of death in the United States and is already among the top ten in Europe. “