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Metabolite-Based Test May Detect Early Pancreatic Cancer

FRIDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- A test that measures four serum metabolites can accurately distinguish patients with pancreatic cancer from healthy people and patients with pancreatitis, according to a study published online March 29 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Takashi Kobayashi, M.D., Ph.D., from the Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, and colleagues used gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to identify serum metabolites present in 43 patients with pancreatic cancer and 42 healthy volunteers.

The researchers found that a diagnostic model using four metabolites had a sensitivity of 86.0 percent and a specificity of 88.1 percent. Applying the model to an independent group of 42 patients with pancreatic cancer, 23 patients with chronic pancreatitis, and 41 healthy volunteers gave a sensitivity of 71.4 percent and a specificity of 78.1 percent. Compared with conventional tumor markers, the model had a higher sensitivity (77.8 percent) for resectable pancreatic cancer and a lower false positive rate (17.4 percent) for chronic pancreatitis.

"Our model possessed higher accuracy than conventional tumor markers at detecting the resectable patients with pancreatic cancer in [a] cohort including patients with chronic pancreatitis," the authors write.

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