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Pancreatic Cancer Biomarkers Systematically Examined

Last Updated: April 13, 2009.

A compendium of biomarkers for pancreatic cancer has for the first time gathered together information on detection of the disease from multiple sources in a systematic fashion, according to an article published April 7 in PLoS Medicine.

MONDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- A compendium of biomarkers for pancreatic cancer has for the first time gathered together information on detection of the disease from multiple sources in a systematic fashion, according to an article published April 7 in PLoS Medicine.

H.C. Harsha, of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues conducted a literature search on biomarkers for pancreatic cancer and identified molecules that are overexpressed in pancreatic cancer, along with overexpressed proteins that were detectable in serum and other body fluids, overexpressed molecules in the tumor microenvironment, precursor lesions, and the differences and similarities in molecular expression in acute pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.

The investigators caution that 74 percent of the molecules in their compendium were based on mRNA evidence alone, which requires validation using other methods, but they add that 648 molecules have already been tested at the protein level, including 441 that are supported by both mRNA and protein evidence.

"Given the explosion of data from multiple platforms, the information must be integrated before a systems view of cancers can emerge. In this regard, we have used pancreatic cancer as an example to create a resource that should serve as a model for other cancers," the authors write. "Discovering a single biomarker that would be both sensitive and specific for cancer of a given organ might be more difficult than discovering a panel of biomarkers."

One of the study authors may receive payments and royalties from Anza Therapeutics as a result of the mesothelin invention.

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