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AACR: Pancreatic Cancer, Mesothelioma Biomarkers ID'd

May make possible earlier detection, treatment of these aggressive cancers

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have identified new biomarkers that can be used to detect pancreatic cancer and mesothelioma at early stages, according to research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research International Conference on Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer Therapeutic Development, held from Sept. 27 to 30 in Denver.

Rachel Ostroff, Ph.D., of SomaLogic in Boulder, Colo., and colleagues used aptamer-based proteomics array technology to test 357 serum samples from patients diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer. The results were compared to controls consisting of subjects exposed to asbestos, high-risk smokers, and those with benign lung disease. The researchers also analyzed plasma samples from 143 cases of pancreatic cancer and 116 controls, and retained 25 percent from each group as a blinded verification set.

The researchers identified 19 significant biomarkers for mesothelioma which were organized into classifiers. By applying a 13-plex Random Forest classifier to the blinded test set, the researchers found a specificity of 100 percent and sensitivity of 80 percent for distinguishing subjects with mesothelioma from asbestos-exposed controls. For pancreatic cancer, an 11 marker panel had a receiver operating characteristic curve area under the curve of 0.91. A specificity of 96.5 percent and a sensitivity of 65 percent were achieved for asymptomatic patients, with 75 percent specificity and 90 percent sensitivity acheived when symptoms were added to the diagnostic algorithm.

"Currently these cancers are detected at an advanced stage, where the possibility of cure is minimal," Ostroff said in a statement. "Detection of these aggressive cancers at an earlier stage would identify patients for early treatment, which may improve their survival and quality of life."

Several study authors are employees of SomaLogic.

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