In mouse models, loss of muscle and fat in early pancreatic cancer may be caused in part by a tumor-related decrease in production of pancreatic enzymes, report scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Additionally, muscle and fat tissue wasting was common in a large cohort of patients with newly diagnosed pancreatic cancer, highlighting the potential for tissue wasting to serve as a marker for early detection.
Reporting in the journal Nature, the researchers determined that peripheral tissue wasting in pancreatic cancer occurs early during the development of the disease, in addition to the syndrome of dramatic weight loss and fatigue often seen in cancer patients with advanced disease and known as cancer-related cachexia. Interestingly, when the researchers examined records of a large number of patients with pancreatic cancer, they found that the early loss of muscle and fat was not associated with shortened survival compared with patients who did not experience early tissue wasting. Read the story.