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Researchers Say Pancreatic Cancer Is Four Separate Diseases

Findings may lead to better therapies, team says


THURSDAY, Feb. 25, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists who discovered that pancreatic cancer is at least four separate diseases say their findings could lead to improved treatments for the disease.

The researchers studied pancreatic cancer in 456 patients and identified four classes of genetic error that triggered tumors. They labeled the four cancers: squamous-type; pancreatic progenitor; immunogenic; and aberrantly differentiated endocrine exocrine, BBC News reported. The findings were published online Feb. 24 in Nature.

"This is the most comprehensive analysis of the blueprint of pancreatic cancer. So this knowledge reveals what makes these cancers tick and which ones may be vulnerable to particular treatments by defining the Achilles' heel of every cancer," Andrew Biankin, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., one of the researchers at the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom, told BBC News.

At diagnosis, most pancreatic cancer patients are told they have less than a year to live. Only one percent of patients are alive after 10 years, a survival rate that's remained the same for four decades.

One author disclosed financial ties to Myriad Genetics.

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