Research ArticleCancer

Detection of early pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma with thrombospondin-2 and CA19-9 blood markers

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Science Translational Medicine  12 Jul 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 398, eaah5583
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aah5583

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Getting a head start on pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has a dismal prognosis due to a lack of diagnostics for detecting early-stage disease. Kim et al. genetically reprogrammed late-stage human PDAC cells to a stem cell–like state, enabling the reprogrammed cells to recapitulate human PDAC progression and revealing secreted candidate markers of early-stage disease. The protein thrombospondin-2 (THBS2) was screened against 746 cancer and control human plasma samples in a multiphase study. The authors report that, THBS2, in combination with the marker CA19-9, boosts detection of the early stages of PDAC in high-risk human populations.