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publicado em 14/05/2011 às 11h54:00
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DNA testing allows non-invasive diagnosis for pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer has one of the highest mortality rates, 94% of patients die within 5 years after diagnosis

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Pancreatic cancer has one of the highest mortality rates among the major types of tumors, and more than 43,000 Americans diagnosed each year, nearly 95% die within five years after the onset of the disease. One reason for this high number of deaths is the lack of effective test for early diagnosis. But now researchers at the Mayo Clinic believe they have found a new way to find pancreatic cancer with DNA tests on stool samples of patients. The research was presented at the conference in 2011 Digestive Disease Week, held May 7 to 10 in Chicago (USA).

"We know that in colon cancer can detect molecular signatures of some cancers and precancers, and we were interested in trying to determine whether we could do the same thing, specifically with a stool test for pancreatic cancer," says Me . John Kisiel, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic, who presented the study findings.

The study focused on the detection of methylation in stool samples from 127 patients, 60 of them diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 67 who were not diagnosed with cancer. Methylation is a type of DNA modification strongly associated with cancers and precancers. The research team wanted to test whether they could reliably detect any type of methylated genes in stool samples from people in the study group who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

"We found that a marker was reliably detected in both tissue samples and faeces of patients with pancreatic cancer, which compared favorably with another type of marker - the mutation of a gene called KRAS, says Dr. Kisiel . "When we look at the two markers together, the combined accuracy of both markers was significantly better than either marker alone." In general, the methylated marker (called BMP3) and KRAS mutated genes were detected in 70% of those in the study who had pancreatic cancer.

Screening markers detected regardless of cancer stage or location of pancreatic cancer. These results may lead to earlier detection of pancreatic cancer, which could significantly increase the survival rate for those who have the disease. Stool examinations are also non-invasive and samples can be collected by patients at home and sent to the laboratory without an office visit or clinic.

Ultimately, researchers hope to expand this initial study to create effective stool examinations for all cancers affecting the gastrointestinal tract. "We can now reliably detect methylation of a marker in the stool that we know to be present in the cancers at curable stage and markers were similar in pre-cancers," says Dr. Kisiel. "This will lead us to try to test patients with additional types of tumor for more diagnostic markers of this type so we can develop a panel of markers that can cover all cancers and pre-cancers along the gastrointestinal tract."


   Palavras-chave:   Pancreatic cancer    Pancreatic cancer diagnosis    Stool test    DNA testing    KRAS   
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