Queen Mary Innovation

QMUL study reveals biomarkers for pancreatic cancer

11 August 2015

QMUL study reveals biomarkers for pancreatic cancer in patients' urine, paving the way for a low-cost, non-invasive test that could diagnose the disease in its early stages.
Dr Tatjana Crnogorac-Jurcevic and her colleagues have identified three novel biomarker proteins that have shown to be associated with early- stage pancreatic cancer in a urine- based test with more than 90% accuracy.

Pancreatic cancer is associated with poor prognosis. If pancreatic cancer is diagnosed at Stage 1 the survival rate for tumours can be up to 60% yet currently only 6% survive beyond 5 years due to the fact that that there are usually no early warning symptoms of the disease and reliable diagnostic tests do not yet exist. When diagnosed, the majority of patients display locally advanced disease or have established metastases and so surgery is possible in only 10-20% of patients

Dr Tatjana Crnogorac-Jurcevic and her colleagues published the study in the journal of Clinical Cancer Research ( 1 August 2015). The researchers analysed 192 urine samples from patients with pancreatic cancer, alongside 92 samples from patients with chronic pancreatitis and 87 samples from healthy individuals. The team also assessed 117 additional samples from patients with other benign and malignant liver and gall bladder conditions.

The team identified around 1,500 proteins in the urine samples. Three of these - LYVE1, REG1A and TFF1 - were found at significantly higher levels in the urine samples of patients with pancreatic cancer, compared with the samples from healthy individuals.
Patients with chronic pancreatitis, however, had much lower levels of all three proteins in their urine than patients with pancreatic cancer.

Cancer diagnostics is a huge potential market that is estimated to be worth around £120Bn by 2010. Queen Mary Innovation has filed a patent application to cover the use of the biomarker test through analysis of urine and other biological samples


BBC news Monday 3 August 2015

Clinical Cancer Research published 1 August 2015