Diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers in pancreatic carcinoma

Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2009;2(1):1-10. Epub 2008 Apr 12.


Pancreatic ductal carcinoma, one of the leading causes of cancer mortality, is typically diagnosed at an advanced stage, which significantly contributes to its high mortality rates. Studies have demonstrated that resection of small pancreatic tumors and tumors at lower stages correlates with improved survival. Detection of pancreatic carcinoma at an early, surgically resectable stage is the key to decreasing mortality and improving survival. Identification of sensitive diagnostic biomarkers as screening tools is crucial in detecting preinvasive pancreatic neoplasms. Numerous new DNA-, RNA- and protein-based biomarkers have been extensively investigated. This review aims to provide an update on these molecular markers, including biomarkers from blood, tissue as well as pancreatic juice and cystic fluid. These biomarkers hold potential utility in early diagnosis and prognostification of pancreatic ductal carcinoma, though many of which need to be validated in large-scale prospective studies before they can be used in clinical settings.

Keywords: Pancreatic ductal carcinoma; molecular biomarkers.