Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Game changer: Biomarker identified for noncancerous pancreatic cysts

Date:
February 11, 2014
Source:
Indiana University
Summary:
Researchers have discovered a test to identify benign pancreatic cysts which could spare patients years of unnecessary tests and potential surgery.

Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine have discovered a highly accurate, noninvasive test to identify benign pancreatic cysts, which could spare patients years of nerve-racking trips to the doctor or potentially dangerous surgery.

Related Articles


The findings are reported in "Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor, a Novel and Highly Accurate Pancreatic Fluid Biomarker for Serous Pancreatic Cysts" online in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

The test, which analyzes fluid from pancreatic cysts, can identify a common type of benign cyst that can't be differentiated by imaging alone from cysts that may progress to pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cyst fluid is tested for a biomarker, a specific isoform of vascular endothelial growth factor A, or VEGF-A. Pancreatic cyst fluid is often obtained in patients with pancreatic cysts as a part of standard testing during endoscopy. High levels of VEGF-A indicate with 99 percent accuracy that the cyst will not become malignant, the researchers found after analyzing the results of 87 patients.

First author Michele T. Yip-Schneider, Ph.D., associate research professor of surgery, and senior author C. Max Schmidt, M.D., Ph.D., MBA, professor of surgery, biochemistry and molecular biology, report this is the first cyst fluid protein biomarker that can differentiate serous cystic neoplasms, a benign type of cystic lesion, from all other cancerous or precancerous cystic lesions without surgery.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers in part because it is frequently diagnosed late and treatment options are somewhat limited. According to the National Cancer Institute, about 45,220 people will be diagnosed this year with pancreatic cancer and about 38,460 will die from the disease.

Treatments may include chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, but few patients are cured.

"Only 15 percent of pancreatic cancer patients will benefit from surgery, and of those, only about 20 percent will survive five years," said Dr. Schmidt, who is a researcher with the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center and director of the IU Health Pancreatic Cyst and Cancer Early Detection Center.

Complications from pancreatic surgery are common and can be life threatening, so sparing a patient unnecessary surgery is important, Dr. Schmidt said.

"As scientists, we have tried to figure out which cystic lesions are benign, which are pre-cancerous and which are malignant," Dr. Yip-Schneider said. "Although pancreatic cysts are best seen on pancreatic MRI-MRCP, making a diagnosis of which type of cyst and how likely cancer will develop is not usually possible through imaging alone."

Surgery is not the panacea that patients frequently hope for, and the majority of pancreatic cancer patients aren't even eligible due to the advanced stage of the disease at presentation.

Pancreatic cysts and cancer are becoming more common in the American population. It is unclear why, but pancreatic cancer is clearly associated with obesity, smoking and a family history of pancreatic cancer.

Today, about 3 percent of the U.S. population has pancreatic cysts, although many are asymptomatic and go undiagnosed. Most of these cysts are pre-cancerous, but some are completely benign while others are cancerous. Patients go through extensive follow-up medical visits, invasive biopsies and sometimes unnecessary surgery to determine the true nature of their pancreatic cyst. The novel marker VEGF-A can completely eliminate the need for this extensive follow-up and potential harm for patients with unrecognized benign cysts, the researchers said.

"Many of my patients when initially told they have pancreatic cysts are very fearful and ask for surgical removal of the cyst or the entire pancreas before they even learn their options," Dr. Schmidt said. "Now, physicians will have an outpatient procedure to offer that can take some of the guesswork out of the equation."

A short video describing this research can be found at http://youtu.be/NGLh6rjOPvs.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Indiana University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Michele T. Yip-Schneider, Huangbing Wu, Ryan P. Dumas, Brad A. Hancock, Narasimhan Agaram, Milan Radovich, C. Max Schmidt. Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor, a Novel and Highly Accurate Pancreatic Fluid Biomarker for Serous Pancreatic Cysts. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2013.12.019

Cite This Page:

Indiana University. "Game changer: Biomarker identified for noncancerous pancreatic cysts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140211121736.htm>.
Indiana University. (2014, February 11). Game changer: Biomarker identified for noncancerous pancreatic cysts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140211121736.htm
Indiana University. "Game changer: Biomarker identified for noncancerous pancreatic cysts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140211121736.htm (accessed November 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The MelaFind device is a pain-free way to check suspicious moles for melanoma, without the need for a biopsy. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battling Multiple Myeloma

Battling Multiple Myeloma

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The answer isn’t always found in new drugs – repurposing an ‘old’ drug that could mean better multiple myeloma treatment, and hope. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) New information that is linking chronic inflammation in the prostate and prostate cancer, which may help doctors and patients prevent cancer in the future. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) Blood transfusions are proving crucial to young sickle cell patients by helping prevent strokes, even when there is no outward sign of brain injury. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins