Early detection of pancreatic cancer: Role of biomarkers in pancreatic fluid samples

Noboru Ideno, Yasuhisa Mori, Masafumi Nakamura, Takao Ohtsuka

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Most patients with PDAC present with symptomatic, surgically unresectable disease. Therefore, the establishment of strategies for the early detection is urgently needed. Molecular biomarkers might be useful in various phases of a strategy to identify high-risk individuals in the general population and to detect high-risk lesions during intense surveillance programs combined with imaging modalities. However, the low sensitivity and specificity of biomarkers currently available for PDAC, such as carbohydrate 19-9 (CA19-9), contribute to the late diagnosis of this deadly disease. Although almost all classes of biomarker assays have been studied, most of them are used in the context of symptomatic diseases. Compared to other body fluids, pancreatic juice and duodenal fluid are better sources of DNA, RNA, proteins, and exosomes derived from neoplastic cells and have the potential to increase the sensitivity/specificity of these biomarkers. The number of studies using duodenal fluid with or without secretin stimulation for DNA/protein marker tests have been increasing because of the less-invasiveness in comparison to pancreatic juice collection by endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration (EUS-FNA). Genomic analyses have been very well-studied, and based on PDAC progression model, mutations detected in pancreatic juice/duodenal fluid seem to indicate the presence of microscopic precursors and high-grade dysplasia/invasive cancer. In addition to known proteins overexpressed both in precursors and PDACs, such as CEA and S100P, comprehensive proteomic analysis of pancreatic juice from patients with PDAC identified many proteins which were not previously described. A novel technique to isolate exosomes from pancreatic juice was recently invented and identification of exosomal microRNA’s 21 and 155 could be biomarkers for diagnosis of PDAC. Since many studies have explored biomarkers in fluid samples containing pancreatic juice and reported excellent diagnostic accuracy, we need to discuss how these biomarker assays can be validated and utilized in the strategy of early detection of PDAC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1056
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Biochemistry


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