Researchers have developed a blood test capable of detecting pancreatic cancer in its early stages. The method is very important for early diagnosis.
Pancreatic cancer is considered from a medical point of view as one of the most aggressive malignant tumors, of those that can affect the digestive tract. In fact, most patients with this type of cancer die from this disease.
The reason? Fundamentally, late diagnosis, which is carried out late in most cases, when the tumor can no longer be cured, especially since its diagnosis in the initial or early stages of the disease tends to be difficult, due to the fact that the pancreas is located in an area or region that is certainly deep in our body.
In addition, to this situation we must add that, in general, patients affected by pancreatic cancer do not tend to have associated symptoms until the tumor has spread to other organs.
And, in this sense, also its position -behind the colon and stomach and in almost direct contact with abdominal structures such as the bile ducts, the duodenum, the aorta or the intestinal arteries and veins- makes this cancer capable of spreading quickly and invade other organs.
At the moment, no professional medical association recommends performing routine screening tests for this type of cancer, mainly because no screening test has been shown to reduce the risk of dying from this tumor.
It would be a blood test that would help detect pancreatic cancer in the early stages of the disease. Specifically, it would consist of a kind of liquid biopsy with which ANI molecules specific to this type of cancer would be sought, among all those that circulate throughout the bloodstream.
The particularity of this blood test is that it is capable of searching for and tracking initiating mutations of the tumor process, in direct combination with other frequent biomarkers in this type of cancer.
To carry out this method, the researchers collected samples of both tumor tissue and blood from a total of 221 people who had stage I and II pancreatic cancer, and blood samples from 182 people with no history of cancer.
Thus, by combining mutations that indicate the start of the tumor process in a wide variety of cancers (known as KRAS) with specific biomarkers for this type of tumor, they managed to detect the disease in 64% of patients.
What is liquid biopsy and why is it so important?
As many medical experts and specialists state and believe, what is certain is that what is known as a liquid biopsy is becoming the future of medical research, with regard, above all, to early detection of cancer.
It is, in fact, a tremendously powerful tool because it is very minimally invasive, and because it offers the specialist the possibility of knowing if a person has cancer or, however, if they present a high risk of developing it in the future.
Its importance stems from the fact that it allows better follow-up and monitoring of the patient, as it is so minimally invasive, both for people who are at high risk but are healthy, and for those who already have the disease.