Novel serum protein biomarker panel for early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer

Int J Cancer. 2024 Jul 15;155(2):365-371. doi: 10.1002/ijc.34928. Epub 2024 Mar 22.


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the deadliest cancers. Late presentation of disease at the time of diagnosis is one of the major reasons for dismal prognostic outcomes for PDAC patients. Currently, there is a lack of clinical biomarkers, which can be used to diagnose PDAC patients at an early resectable stage. This study performed proteomic mass spectrometry to identify novel blood-based biomarkers for early diagnosis of PDAC. Serum specimens from 88 PDAC patients and 88 healthy controls (60 discovery cohort and 28 validation cohort) were analyzed using data independent acquisition high resolution mass spectrometry to identify candidate biomarker proteins. A total of 249 proteins were identified and quantified by the mass spectrometric analysis. Six proteins were markedly (>1.5 fold) and significantly (p < .05; q < 0.1) increased in PDAC patients compared to healthy controls in discovery cohort. Notably, four of these six proteins were significantly upregulated in an independent validation cohort. The top three upregulated proteins (i.e., Polymeric Immunoglobulin Receptor [PIGR], von Willebrand Factor [vWF], and Fibrinogen) were validated using enzyme linked immunosorbent assay, which led to selection of PIGR and vWF as a diagnostic biomarker panel for PDAC. The panel showed high ability to diagnose early stage (stage I and II) PDAC patients (area under the curve [AUC]: 0.8926), which was further improved after the addition of clinically used prognostic biomarker (Ca 19-9) to the panel (AUC: 0.9798). In conclusion, a novel serum protein biomarker panel for early diagnosis of PDAC was identified.

Keywords: blood tests; diagnostic biomarkers; mass spectrometry; pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; proteomics.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor* / blood
  • Blood Proteins / analysis
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal* / blood
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal* / diagnosis
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Early Detection of Cancer* / methods
  • Female
  • Fibrinogen / analysis
  • Fibrinogen / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / blood
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Proteomics* / methods
  • Receptors, Polymeric Immunoglobulin / blood
  • von Willebrand Factor / analysis
  • von Willebrand Factor / metabolism