Biomarkers in the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer

Molecular biomarkers might be useful in various phases of a strategy to identify high-risk individuals in the general population and to detect high-risk lesions during intense surveillance programs combined with imaging modalities.

However, previously the low sensitivity and specificity of biomarkers available for early ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), contribute to the late diagnosis of this deadly disease. The poor survival among patients with pancreatic cancer is
particularly of concern to patients with inherited susceptibility to the disease.

The prevalence of pancreatic juice methylation in patients with chronic pancreatitis was less than in patients with pancreatic cancer but higher than in controls and similar to high-risk individuals. The detection and quantification of aberrantly methylated DNA in pancreatic juice is a promising approach to the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

Summer Highlight: DNA Markers from Pancreatic Juice to detect Early PDAC
This month, we’re highlighting a recent study presented at DDW 2023.
A enormous effort, 10 years in the making, the study concerned Secretin-stimulated pancreatic juice collected by endoscopic duodenal aspirate from January 2018-August 2022 in 100 biopsy-proven treatment-naïve PDAC cases.. This study analyzed the diagnostic performance of methylated DNA markers (MDMs) in distinguishing PDAC from controls including those with chronic pancreatitis (CP) and intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs).

The study demonstrated that a PJ-MDM panel can distinguish PDAC from both normal and pancreatic disease controls with reasonable accuracy. Candidate MDMs with the highest variable importance for predicting PDAC in this study are identical to those reported previously providing justification for further assay optimization and clinical test development. Combining pancreatic juice MDMs with blood-based biomarkers may potentially further enhance diagnostic performance and serve as a tool for early detection of PDAC.

Future Conferences

October 4-7, 2023
NASPGHAN | Hilton San Diego Bayfront | San Diego, California

Contact Wade Schoenecker for more information on where to find us!


1. Majumder S, Raimondo M, Taylor WR, Yab TC, Berger CK, Dukek BA, Cao X, Foote PH, Wu CW, Devens ME, Mahoney DW, Smyrk TC, Pannala R, Chari ST, Vege SS, Topazian MD, Petersen BT, Levy MJ, Rajan E, Gleeson FC, Abu Dayyeh B, Nguyen CC, Faigel DO, Woodward TA, Wallace MB, Petersen G, Allawi HT, Lidgard GP, Kisiel JB, Ahlquist DA. Methylated DNA in Pancreatic Juice Distinguishes Patients With Pancreatic Cancer From Controls. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2020 Mar;18(3):676-683.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2019.07.017. Epub 2019 Jul 16. PMID: 31323382; PMCID: PMC6984349.

2. Matsubayashi H, Canto M, Sato N, Klein A, Abe T, Yamashita K, Yeo CJ, Kalloo A, Hruban R, Goggins M. DNA methylation alterations in the pancreatic juice of patients with suspected pancreatic disease. Cancer Res. 2006 Jan 15;66(2):1208-17. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-05-2664. PMID: 16424060.