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DNA In Blood May Tell How Long A Pancreatic Cancer Patient Has Left To Live

By Christie Abagon , Dec 19, 2016 06:44 PM EST
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Pancreatic cancer has the highest death rate of all major cancers.  This type of cancer is expected to become the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S. by the year 2030, surpassing colorectal cancer.  A simple blood test may be able to predict the survival chances of patients with pancreatic cancer and help doctors choose the best treatment.

If Tumor Is Found In Patients Blood, The Prognosis Is Worse

Sorbonne University scientists discovered that the prognosis for patients is far worse if tumour DNA is found in their blood.   Authors of the study, Jean-Baptiste Bachet, MD, PhD, from the Gastroenterology and Digestive Oncology Department at Sorbonne University, and the Centre Universitaire des Saints-Pères, both in Paris, France, looked at tests of 35 pancreatic cancer patients, those without tumour DNA lived between 19 and 32 months, compared to just six months for those with the DNA.

"Our study confirms the strong prognostic value of the presence of tumour DNA and of its level, when detected, in advanced pancreatic cancer.  Our results demonstrate the utility of circulating biomarkers in sub-classifying cancers and managing treatment," Bachet said.

Dr Batchet added that they "need to confirm these results in prospective clinical trials to better assess the predictive value of this biomarker in light of the dynamic biological changes that occur during treatment."

Pancreatic Cancer Is A Silent Killer

 

In the UK, 75 percent of pancreatic cancer patients couldn't name a single symptom.  Diagnosis can mean the difference between a tumour that is treatable with surgery and one that isn't.  In its early stages, it can be misdiagnosed as gall stones, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, gastritis or hepatitis. 

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer includes: Yellow skin or eyes and / or itchy skin; unexplained weight loss; abdominal pains, especially at the top of the abdomen; bowel changes such as oily, floating feces.

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