Early detection of pancreatic cancer is tremendously important, given that most patients who develop the disease are diagnosed at a later stage of the disease when it is usually incurable. Although screening through imaging studies has been proposed (i.e., magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) and/or endoscopic ultrasound),1 data to support this type of screening as an evidence-based recommendation continues to be collected. Consequently, there has been longstanding interest in developing blood tests for early detection of pancreatic cancer. One such effort is represented in a recent study in which a metabolite panel in combination with CA19-9, TIMP1, and LRG1 were shown to be of potential use in the early detection of pancreatic cancer compared to a protein panel alone.2 These types of efforts are hoped to culminate in the development of a blood test that is reliable in detecting pancreatic cancer early, at a stage when it may be curable.
1Canto MI, et al. Gut. 2012 Nov. PMID: 23135763.
2Fahrmann JF, et al. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2018 Aug 18. PMID: 30137376.