A recent study suggests that having diabetes might be an early warning sign of pancreatic cancer. Also that every patient needs to do screening and that might help to diagnose cancer sooner.
This research was presented at the EASD, i.e., European Association for the Study of Diabetes. The meeting was in Munich, Germany. And, Dr. Pavel Škrha from the Charles University in Prague, Chech Republic led the study.
According to the study, the first symptoms of pancreatic cancer are pre diabetes and diabetes diagnosis within the last 2 years – especially in case of huge weight loss.
Dr. Pavel had 2 aims with this study. The first to determine the prevalence of both long-term and new-onset diabetes in the patients with pancreatic cancer. The second to find out the ability of the biomarkers.
The researchers attempted to find out the specificity and sensitivity of the CA 19-9 biochemical marker alone or together with the new promising markers micro RNA- 196 and -200 in different PAC patients and on-cancer patients.
In this study, 60 pancreatic cancer patients had diabetes around the age of 67. Doctors confirmed their cancer by surgically removing it or with a needle biopsy procedure.
In this study, there were 30 controls and 34 patients with type 2 diabetes and with no pancreatic cancer. The diagnoses for prediabetes and diabetes is according to the criteria of the American Diabetes Association.
In fact, researchers found that more patients with pancreatic cancer had recently been diagnosed with diabetes in comparison to those with long-term diabetes.
Of the pancreatic cancer patients around 44 had a new-onset diagnosis of diabetes and of the around 16 of the pancreatic cancer patients actually had long-term diabetes.
So, they came to the discovery that the 3 biomarkers were notably higher in PAC patients and there was no difference in the subgroups about the duration of diabetes.
The combined test identified more early stage 1 and 2 pancreatic cancers. Dr. Pavel Škrha saw that 6 of the 77 pancreatic – cancer patients had an early stage of cancer.
All 6 patients were identified with the combined biomarker test, but only 2 with the CA 19-9 test.
Dr. Pavel pointed out that when it comes to identifying early pancreatic cancer the combined biomarker test is better in comparison to the CA 19-9 alone.
According to the authors of the study, the higher detection of new-onset pre diabetes or diabetes in pancreatic cancer can probably play a crucial role in the early diagnosis.
Other signs such as gastrointestinal symptoms and weight loss might initiate further examination.
Moreover, if people who recently got diabetes diagnosis do screening for pancreatic cancer they might get their diagnosis earlier. And in that way obtain their treatment sooner and increase their survival chances.
What the researchers want is to use the high sensitivity of the micro RNA-196 AND -200 molecular markers in combination with CA 19-0. This would offer the first line of the noninvasive screening of pancreatic cancer in patients with new-onset diabetes.
That might reduce the delay regarding the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Also, improve the prognosis of the patients that have diabetes with this disease.