-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Oct. 14 (HealthDay News) -- A protein "biomarker" in
bile correctly identifies pancreatic cancer and may detect the
cancer earlier than some markers in blood, according to a new
The researchers found that this marker -- called vascular
endothelial growth factor (VEGF) -- accurately distinguished
pancreatic cancer from other causes of common problems in the bile
duct, correctly detecting pancreatic cancer in 93 percent of
Patients with cancer of the pancreatic head or the common bile
duct usually have bile duct obstruction or jaundice. Bile duct
obstruction, however, can also be due to noncancerous causes such
as bile duct stones, the researchers said.
Bile duct obstruction is a blockage in the tubes that carry bile
from the liver to the gallbladder and small intestine. Bile helps
This study of 53 patients with bile duct obstruction found that
VEGF levels in bile were significantly higher in patients with
pancreatic cancer. The findings were to be presented Monday at the
American College of Gastroenterology annual meeting, in San Diego.
Findings presented at medical meetings should be viewed as
preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
"Differentiating pancreatic cancer from other problems that also cause jaundice is important, as treatment approach is very different," study author Dr. Udayakumar Navaneethan, of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, said in an organization news release.
"Since bile is produced in the liver and passes through the bile duct and mixes with pancreatic secretions, measurement of markers in bile could identify cancer earlier than measuring some markers in blood," Navaneethan said. "We can measure VEGF in bile fluid, which is an inexpensive test, and confirm the presence of cancer rather than other expensive investigations."
The American Cancer Society has more about
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