Major Johns Hopkins study calls for new blood biomarker assays to improve pancreatic cancer survival rates in high risk individuals
An important new study by a group of researchers from John Hopkins recently published in the peer-reviewed journal Gastroenterology has reinforced the importance of surveillance for individuals at high risk due to family history or genetic markers for pancreatic cancer. In addition, the group called for better biomarker tests for early selection of patients for potentially life-prolonging surgery.
Entitled “The Risk of Neoplastic Progression in Individuals at High Risk for Pancreatic Cancer Undergoing Long-term Surveillance, the study by Canto et al at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions aimed to discover the incidence of pancreatic ductal ardenocarcinoma (PDAC) and risk factors in 354 individuals enrolled in various cohorts across the US from 1998 through 2014. A combination of techniques were used for surveillance, including endoscopic ultrasonography, MRI and computed tomography. Results showed that pancreatic cancer and its early signs develop in 7% of high risk individuals at a rate of 1.6% per year. 9 out of 10 of the cancers could be removed surgically and 85% of the patients survived for 3 years. Although the group say more studies are needed, the group at the optimal age for screening appears to be 55 or 10 years younger than the youngest relative already with pancreatic cancer was first diagnosed. The group concluded that although the pancreatic cancer is a relatively rare disease, the success rate of surgery if the disease is detected early enough proves the value of surveillance programs for high risk individuals. However, the limitations of current imaging techniques also led the group say: “Better biomarkers that can detect high-grade pancreatic neoplasia in secretin-stimulated pancreatic juice, pancreatic cyst fluid and blood are needed to improve the selection of patients for surgery.”
Immunovia has developed a blood based biomarker signature for early detection of pancreatic cancer called IMMray™ PanCan-d. To validate IMMray™ PanCan-d, Immunovia in collaboration with pancreatic cancer centres across Europe and US, started PanFAM-1, the largest ever multicenter clinical trial for early detection of pancreatic cancer in familial/hereditary high risk group. PanFAM-1 final results are expected 2021.