INDIANAPOLIS -- 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.
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 benef
|Contact: Mary Hardin|