Biomarkers for early detection of pancreatic cancer

Abbreviated Name
Biomarkers for early detection of pancreatic cancer
Lead Investigator
Lokshin, AnnaUniversity of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
Coordinating Investigator
Lokshin, Anna University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
Involved Investigators


Background: The clinical management of pancreatic cancer is severely hampered by the absence of effective screening tools. Methods: Sixty-seven biomarkers were evaluated in prediagnostic sera obtained from cases of pancreatic cancer enrolled in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCO). Results: The panel of CA 19-9, OPN, and OPG, identified in a prior retrospective study, was not effective. CA 19-9, CEA, NSE, bHCG, CEACAM1 and PRL were significantly altered in sera obtained from cases greater than 1 year prior to diagnosis. Levels of CA 19-9, CA 125, CEA, PRL, and IL-8 were negatively correlated with time to diagnosis. A training/validation study using alternate halves of the PLCO set failed to identify a biomarker panel with significantly improved performance over CA 19-9 alone. When the entire PLCO set was used for training at a specificity (SP) of 95%, a panel of CA 19-9, CEA, and Cyfra 21-1 provided significantly elevated sensitivity (SN) levels of 32.4% and 29.7% in samples collected <1 and >1 year prior to diagnosis, respectively, compared to SN levels of 25.7% and 17.2% for CA 19-9 alone. Conclusions: Most biomarkers identified in previously conducted case/control studies are ineffective in prediagnostic samples, however several biomarkers were identified as significantly altered up to 35 months prior to diagnosis. Two newly derived biomarker combination offered some advantage of CA 19-9 alone in terms of SN, particularly in samples collected >1 year prior to diagnosis, however further study will be needed to fully define the implications of these findings.


1. Validate biomarkers identified in case/control set in preclinical proximal PLCO samples 2. Optimize biomarkers for maximal classification of preclinical disease

Analytic Method



  • No biomarkers available at this time for this protocol

Data Collections

 Team Project
Protocol ID
Field of Research
Collaborative Group
G.I. and Other Associated Cancers Research Group
Cancer Types
  • Malignant neoplasm of pancreas
Phased Status

Associated Forms