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Molecular marker could help spot pancreatic cancer early
Date:4/26/2010

ted together in a manner that produces at least seven different palladin protein products. Turns out only a couple of these forms of palladin called isoforms appear in pancreatic tissue.

The researchers found that the longer of these two isoforms was upregulated in the cells surrounding the tumor -- called tumor-associated fibroblasts -- when compared to normal pancreas. Their findings were consistent, regardless of whether they were looking in cultured cell lines, patient samples, or tumors from a mouse model.

Otey thinks that the upregulation of this form of palladin in tumor-associated fibroblasts could help them become contractile and stiff -- more like muscle than connective tissue -- in order to generate channels through neighboring tissue so the cancer can metastasize and spread.

"The interactions between these tumor-associated fibroblasts and tumor cells are really important and are probably what is causing pancreas cancer to be so deadly,invasive and resistant to current therapies," said Otey.

And that is why raising public awareness and enhancing our abilities to diagnose the disease early is so critical, says Hong Jin Kim, associate professor of surgery at UNC, who along with Otey is senior author of the study.

"It appears that the upregulation of palladin in the tumor-associated fibroblasts is an early event in the neoplastic process," said Kim. "We may be able to take advantage of these findings, since pathologic confirmation of pancreatic adenocarcinoma in the preoperative setting is often difficult, requiring an invasive procedure directed by endoscopic ultrasound. If we can enhance the diagnostic efficiency of these studies by staining for palladin, it would be clinically helpful for interventional gastroenterologists and pathologists."


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Contact: Les Lang
llang@unch.unc.edu
919-966-9366
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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