Purpose Midkine (MK) has been reported to be a possible molecular marker for the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. We investigated the feasibility of quantitative analysis of MK mRNA by quantitative real-time RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) as a promising tool for the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Results We found that pancreatic cancer tissues expressed significantly higher levels of MK mRNA than intraductal pancreatic mucinous neoplasm (IPMN) and non-neoplastic pancreatic tissues (P < 0.05); in contrast, we did not find any differences in MK mRNA expression between IPMN and non-neoplastic pancreatic tissues. Additionally, we observed that poorly differentiated carcinoma samples expressed higher levels of MK mRNA than well-differentiated carcinoma samples, although a significant difference was not observed. Conclusions The present data suggests that quantitative analysis of MK mRNA provides an objective and sensitive evaluation and may be a promising modality for the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and the prediction of its prognosis.
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