New Blood Test May Spot Pancreatic Cancer Early

Updated: 03/29/2013 5:23 PM KSTP.com By: Joe Mazan

Pancreatic cancer is a brutally effective killer disease. Fewer than 5 percent of patients are alive five years after being diagnosed.

Early detection might increase survival rates. But usually there are no early warning symptoms and there currently is no good screening test.

Now a group of Japanese researchers has developed a new scientific technique that increases the chances of detecting early stage pancreatic cancers using a blood test.

This test could detect and differentiate cancerous cells from normal cells. The researchers found that cancer cells produce molecules and proteins in different amounts than normal cells.

Eventually, they came up with four molecules that, taken together, show signs of cancer. The new mathematical model increased the odds of detecting early pancreatic cancer to four out of five patients.

This test appears to be promising, but the technique is still new, and is not widely available in hospital labs.