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Researchers find biomarkers in saliva for detection of early-stage pancreatic cancer
Date:2/16/2010

Physicians and scientists agree: If we cannot entirely prevent cancer, the next best thing is to find it earlier to augment the chances of a successful fight.

The good news is that there may soon be a new weapon in the battle against the so-called "worst" cancer cancer of the pancreas. A multidisciplinary group of investigators from the UCLA School of Dentistry, the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, the UCLA School of Public Health and UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has demonstrated the usefulness of salivary diagnostics in the effort to find and fight the disease.

Their results, published by the journal Gastroenterology, are available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2009.11.010.

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, the most common type of cancer of the pancreas, is also the most lethal of all cancers, with a mortality rate that is approximately the same as the rate of incidence. The American Cancer Society reports that more than 42,000 people in the United States received a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in 2009, and the disease caused more than 35,000 deaths. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in this country. For both men and women, the lifetime risk of developing pancreatic cancer is about one in 72.

A "silent killer," pancreatic cancer produces its typical symptoms abdominal pain and jaundice only in the advanced stage of the disease, making it difficult to fight. Fewer than 5 percent of those diagnosed with the disease live for five years, and full remission is very rare, according to the World Health Organization.

"Worldwide, the prevalence of pancreatic cancer is so high, and the disease is so deadly, that it calls out for a reliable means of early diagnosis," said the study's senior investigator, David Wong, D.M.D., D.M.Sc., UCLA's Felix and Mildred Yip Professor of Dentistr
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Contact: Sandra Shagat
sshagat@dentistry.ucla.edu
310-206-0835
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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