A Diabetes Diagnosis May be First Symptom of Pancreatic Cancer
Recent research suggests that diabetes may be an early warning of pancreatic cancer and that patient screening could help diagnose pancreatic cancer sooner and more effectively.
The study was led by Dr. Pavel Škrha of Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic and was presented at the recent European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) meeting that took place in Munich, Germany.
One of the first symptoms of pancreatic cancer is being diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes (type of diabetes was not otherwise specified) within the last two years–particularly in the case of recent major weight loss.
Pancreatic Cancer Strongly Linked with Diabetes
Medical Expressreports that the researchers sought to find out the “sensitivity and specificity of the current biochemical marker CA 19-9 alone or together with promising new markers micro RNA-196 and -200 in distinguishing PAC patients form non-cancer patients.”
In the study, 60 pancreatic cancer patients with diabetes and an an average age of 67 participated. Doctors confirmed their cancer with a needle biopsy procedure or by surgically removing the tumor. 34 type 2 diabetes patients with no pancreatic cancer and 30 controls were also included in the study.
Researchers discovered that more patients with pancreatic cancer had a recent diabetes diagnosis than those with long-term diabetes. 44 of the pancreatic cancer patients had a new-onset diabetes diagnosis and 16 pancreatic cancer patients had long-term diabetes. They also found that “All three biomarkers were significantly elevated in PAC patients, with no difference in the subgroups according to the duration of diabetes.”
Pancreatic Cancer Screening for New Diabetes Patients Recommended
Medical Express quoted the study authors who said, “Higher detection of new-onset diabetes or prediabetes in pancreatic cancer could play an important role in the early diagnosis of this cancer which has some of the worst outcomes of any cancer. Other signs like weight loss and/or gastrointestinal symptoms may initiate further examination.”
Basically, if screening of recently diagnosed people with diabetes for pancreatic cancer could be done, patients would be diagnosed earlier, get treatment sooner and improve their chances at survival.
Specifically, researchers want to use the high sensitivity of molecular markers micro RNA-196 and -200 in combination with CA 19-9 in order to offer a “first line of non-invasive pancreatic cancer screening in patients with new-onset diabetes. It would reduce the delay in the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and improve the proagnosis of diabetic patients with this malignant disease.”