Early Detection

A major reason for the devastatingly high mortality rate of pancreatic cancer is that the majority of patients are diagnosed with metastatic or advanced disease that is not amenable to surgery. Currently, there are no reliable biomarkers for the early detection of pancreatic cancer.

As part of the Circulating Biomarker Consortium For Pancreatic Cancer Early Detection (NIH U01CA210171), we are involved in a number of projects aimed at addressing this vital area, e.g., detection of mutations and methylation patterns in circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA), detection of circulating cancer-cell derived exosomes, and detection of metabolites in the blood that act as cancer biomarkers. The goal of these detection methods is to identify individuals who are at high risk for developing pancreatic cancer in the general population and to recommend those individuals for more comprehensive cancer screening in the hopes of catching disease at the earliest possible timepoint as early detection improves the chances of successful treatment.

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