Researchers from Queen Mary University of London and elsewhere report that they've found a three-protein biomarker panel that can detect early stage pancreatic cancer in urine samples.
As QMUL's Tatjana Crnogorac-Jurcevic and colleagues report in Clinical Cancer Research, they examined the proteomes of 18 urine samples from patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and chronic pancreatitis as well as from healthy controls using GeLC/MS/MS analysis.
From among the 1,500 proteins they identified, the researchers homed in on three — LYVE-1, REG1A, and TFF1 — that they suspected could serve as biomarkers to distinguish pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma samples from both chronic pancreatitis and healthy control samples. REG1A and TFF1, they note, have already been linked to PDAC.
They validated these markers in a further 371 urine samples from 87 healthy controls, 92 chronic pancreatitis patients, and 192 pancreatic cancer patients using an ELISA test. That analysis showed a higher concentration of the biomarkers in pancreatic cancer samples than in healthy controls. Crnogorac-Jurcevic and colleagues further report that the three markers together can detect patients with stage I–II PDAC with more than 90 percent accuracy.
"We've always been keen to develop a diagnostic test in urine as it has several advantages over using blood," Crnogorac-Jurcevic tells the Guardian. "It's an inert and far less complex fluid than blood and can be repeatedly and non-invasively tested.