The symptoms of chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer are very similar, often leading to a misdiagnosis – a frightening prospect, considering only 3% of people with pancreatic cancer survive 3 years after being diagnosed. Now, it is being reported that a simple urine test could make it easier to catch the deadly disease more quickly.
Nearly 200 urine samples were collected from patients with pancreatic cancer and were compared with around 100 samples taken from individuals with chronic pancreatitis. About as many samples were also taken from healthy people for a study by researchers from Barts Cancer Institute at Queen Mary University of London.
Three proteins – LYVE1, REG1A and TFF1 – were observed at significantly elevated levels in the urine samples produced by pancreatic cancer patients. Levels of the proteins were found to be much lower in the patients with chronic pancreatitis. 
Researchers were able to use their findings to diagnose stage 1 and 2 pancreatic cancer in urine samples with more than 90% accuracy. The non-invasive, inexpensive test could save many more lives. 
“For a cancer with no early-stage symptoms, it’s a huge challenge to diagnose pancreatic cancer sooner, but if we can, then we can make a big difference to survival rates,” said study co-author Nick Lemoine, director of the Barts Institute. 
“We’ve always been keen to develop a diagnostic test in urine as it has several advantages over using blood. It’s an inert and far less complex fluid than blood and can be repeatedly and noninvasively tested,” said study leader Dr. Tatjana Crnogorac-Jurcevic. 
A previous study by Mayo Clinic researchers found that a molecular marker obtained from pancreatic “juices” can identify nearly all cases of pancreatic cancer. A single altered gene, CD1D, was found in 75% of patients later diagnosed with the disease. The molecular marker was only observed in 9% of chronic pancreatitis sufferers. 
The test was considerably more invasive, however. During routine endoscopies, the scientists injected the substance secretin intravenously to fool the pancreas into thinking participants’ stomachs contained food that the organ requires to help digest. When the pancreas secreted its enzyme-rich juice, along with some exfoliated cells, the researchers collected some of this fluid.
Still, the test could one day assist doctors not only in distinguishing between chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, but it could also be used as a screening test for patients at high risk of pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer is particularly deadly because people tend not to show symptoms (including back or belly pain, digestive issues, and weight loss) until the disease has begun to spread. The illness can only be confirmed in its later stages in about 80% of patients. 
And don’t forget to eat your bitter gourd!
 Tech Times
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