Combined circulating tumor DNA and protein biomarker-based liquid biopsy for the earlier detection of pancreatic cancers.


The earlier diagnosis of cancer is one of the keys to reducing cancer deaths in the future. Here we describe our efforts to develop a noninvasive blood test for the detection of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. We combined blood tests for <i>KRAS</i> gene mutations with carefully thresholded protein biomarkers to determine whether the combination of these markers was superior to any single marker. The cohort tested included 221 patients with resectable pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas and 182 control patients without known cancer. <i>KRAS</i> mutations were detected in the plasma of 66 patients (30%), and every mutation found in the plasma was identical to that subsequently found in the patient's primary tumor (100% concordance). The use of <i>KRAS</i> in conjunction with four thresholded protein biomarkers increased the sensitivity to 64%. Only one of the 182 plasma samples from the control cohort was positive for any of the DNA or protein biomarkers (99.5% specificity). This combinatorial approach may prove useful for the earlier detection of many cancer types.

  • Ahuja N
  • Allen PJ
  • Brand RE
  • Cohen JD
  • Dal Molin M
  • Dobbyn L
  • Doglioni C
  • Falconi M
  • Gibbs P
  • Goggins MG
  • Hanash SM
  • He J
  • Hong SM
  • Hruban RH
  • Javed AA
  • Kim SC
  • Kinzler KW
  • Klein AP
  • Lennon AM
  • Li L
  • Maitra A
  • Makary MA
  • Papadopoulos N
  • Petersen GM
  • Popoli M
  • Ptak J
  • Schaefer J
  • Schattner M
  • Schmidt CM
  • Silliman N
  • Singhi AD
  • Thoburn C
  • Tie J
  • Tomasetti C
  • Vogelstein B
  • Wang Y
  • Weiss MJ
  • Wolfgang CL
  • Wong F
  • Yip-Schneider MT
PubMed ID
Appears In
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2017, 114 (38)