Medical Disorders
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
When Is It Time for a Knee Replacement?AHA News: Death Rates From Tears In This Major Heart Artery Are Rising, Especially Among Women, Black AdultsOmicron COVID Causing Severe Croup in Young Children'Zapping' Air Passages May Bring Relief for Severe AsthmaModerna Asks FDA to Approve Second Booster for All AdultsNew Tick-Borne Virus Is Spreading Across U.S.Memory Issues Plague Long COVID PatientsCOVID Vaccine Won't Cause Rare Neuro Events, But COVID Infection CouldIt Can Take Weeks for Some Patients With Severe COVID to Recover ConsciousnessOmicron Wave Had 5 Times as Many Small Kids Hospitalized Compared to DeltaPalliative Care Crucial After Severe Stroke, But Many Patients Miss OutMammograms Can Also Highlight Heart Risks: StudyPfizer Asks FDA to Approve Second Booster for SeniorsEven a Little Light in Your Bedroom Could Harm HealthRise in U.K. COVID Cases Closely Watched by U.S. Health OfficialsLong COVID May Bring Long-Term Lung DamageNew Malaria Treatment Gets First Approval for Use in ChildrenAbout 1 in 6 U.S. Couples Disagrees on COVID VaccinationCOVID Meds Appear to Work Against BA.2 Omicron VariantCould Depression Make Dry Eye Worse?When Will Americans With Diabetes Get Relief From High Insulin Prices?COVID's Global Death Toll May Be 3 Times Official NumbersDrug Could Be Non-Antibiotic Alternative to Treat UTIsFlu Vaccine No Match for Circulating Variants This SeasonLymphedema in Legs Strikes 1 in 3 Female Cancer SurvivorsScience Brings Shortcut to Spotting 50 Rare Genetic DiseasesU.S. Airplane, Train and Transit Mask Mandates Extended to April 18Man Who Received First Pig Heart Transplant Has DiedPfizer Begins Trial of COVID Drug Paxlovid in Kids 6 to 17Could a Stool Test Help Spot Pancreatic Cancer?Upcoming Surgery Worry You? Poll Says You're Not AloneHalf of Americans Live With Legacy of Childhood Lead PoisoningIn Reversal, WHO Now Supports COVID BoostersLooking to Neanderthals to Explain Today's Lower Back PainWhat's More Accurate, Blood Pressure Readings at Home or Doctor's Office?Begin Now to Protect Your Heart as Clocks 'Spring Forward'Brain Changes May Fuel 'Long COVID' Anxiety, ConfusionHow COVID-19 Can Change the BrainHeart Defects Could Raise Odds for Severe COVID-196 Healthy Steps to Preventing Colon CancerAHA News: These Three Risk Factors May Have the Biggest Impact on Dementia CasesU.S. Surgeon General Investigates COVID-19 MisinformationCould Your Blood Type Make COVID Worse?Implanted 'Drug Factory' Wipes Out Cancers in Mice -- Could It Help People?Immunization Against Common Infection of Babies Could Be NearTelemedicine Helped Many MS Patients During PandemicMore Years Playing Hockey, Higher Odds for CTE Linked to Head InjuryWhite House Unveils New COVID Response StrategyVariants of COVID Virus May 'Hide Out' in Body: StudyInfected People Gain Long-Lasting Immunity Against Coronavirus: Study
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Men's Health
Women's Health

Could a Stool Test Help Spot Pancreatic Cancer?

HealthDay News
Updated: Mar 9th 2022

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, March 9, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- The key to detecting pancreatic cancer early enough to save lives might be found in patients' poop, a new study suggests.

A couple of dozen types of microbes found in stool samples are closely linked to pancreatic cancer, and potentially predict whether a person is at high risk for the hard-to-detect malignancy, a team of European researchers reports.

This panel of 27 microbes, mostly bacteria, identified patients with pancreatic cancer with 84% accuracy, study results show.

The accuracy went up to 94% when researchers combined the microbe panel with another marker that's used to monitor the progression of pancreatic cancer — carbohydrate antigen (CA) 19-9, a type of biochemical released by pancreas tumors.

One expert was cautiously optimistic at the news.

"Currently, there is no early detection method for this disease, so patients are often only diagnosed once they've already reached a late stage when treatment options are limited, leading to low survival rates," said Lynn Matrisian, chief science officer for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN).

"Pancreatic cancer patients can't afford to wait, so we're encouraged by any innovative research looking for new and better ways to detect [the disease]," she said.

Study author and lead researcher Ece Kartal cautioned that the new findings provide "a first step towards stool-based [pancreatic cancer] screening, but more steps and validation are required to develop this into a robust screening or diagnostic method."

Still, "a major advantage of this would be that the method is non-invasive, fast and, in principle, relatively inexpensive," said Kartal, who is a postdoctoral fellow with Heidelberg University Hospital in Germany.

Detection often comes too late

Kartal's team is confident enough in their research that they've applied for a patent to develop a pancreatic cancer diagnostic kit that detects these microbes in stool samples, according to a news release from Worldwide Cancer Research, a U.K. charity that partly funded the work.

Pancreatic cancer is relatively rare, representing about 3% of all cancers in the United States and 7% of all cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society. About 62,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year, and nearly 50,000 will die of it in the United States. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), the most common form, accounts for about 95% of cases.

Typically, pancreatic cancer isn't detected until later stages, when it's grown large and spread to other organs, the cancer society says. There are no good ways to screen for it.

"By virtue of where the pancreas sits in the abdomen, it doesn't show symptoms until usually late in the disease," said Dr. William Cance, chief medical and scientific officer for the American Cancer Society.

Cance called the new study "provocative" and "very significant."

"It's a very innovative finding at a critical time, and it provides some hope for earlier diagnosis of pancreatic cancer," Cance said.

For this study, the researchers studied saliva and stool samples from a group of 136 Spaniards, including 57 known to have pancreatic cancer, 50 healthy people and 29 with chronic pancreatitis.

Sophisticated computer analysis identified "characteristic gut microbial signatures that were distinct in PDAC patients when compared to healthy clinically matched controls," Kartal said.

The research team then tested their microbial panel on a separate group of 76 Germans, including 44 with pancreatic cancer and 32 who did not have the disease. They also tested it against publicly available data from 25 studies involving nearly 5,800 samples.

In both instances, the results validated the microbial panel as a potentially accurate way to detect pancreatic cancer.

"Our models can identify PDAC patients with good accuracy, but they do not erroneously predict PDAC among other disease groups, including PDAC risk factor groups [chronic pancreatitis patients or type 2 diabetics] and diseases with related symptomatology [such as liver diseases or other cancer types]," Kartal said.

More understanding needed

After developing their stool test, the researchers will conduct a study to see whether it can detect pancreatic cancer in people going forward, Kartal said.

It's likely the microbe panel will need to be combined with other measures to create a powerful enough tool to detect pancreatic cancer, said Christian Jobin, co-author of an editorial accompanying the study published March 8 in the journal Gut.

"The microbes by themselves are not enough to build a confident biomarker," said Jobin, a professor of medicine and program leader of cancer microbiota & host response at the University of Florida Health Cancer Center. "That's the hope going forward — multiple markers that will get you closer to a clinical test."

It's not clear why certain microbes in the gut are associated with pancreatic cancer, experts said. The microbes could be the result of cancer processes, or they might even contribute to the cancer.

"It provides an area to research — not only how does the microbiome potentially cause pancreatic cancer, but also can we adjust it, can we change the microbiome?" Cance said. "We have only seen very small incremental gains in pancreatic cancer that are minimal. We need broader gains in understanding what causes it and how to treat it."

Cance added that "this really points to the growing importance of the microbiome — those bacteria that have lived symbiotically with us over the ages — in being associated with cancer, causing cancer and potentially providing ways to diagnose and treat it."

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about pancreatic cancer.

SOURCES: Ece Kartal, PhD, postdoctoral fellow, Heidelberg University Hospital, Germany; William Cance, MD, chief medical and scientific officer, American Cancer Society; Lynn Matrisian, chief science officer, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN); Christian Jobin, PhD, professor of medicine and program leader, cancer microbiota & host response, University of Florida Health Cancer Center; Gut, March 8, 2022, online


Amazon Smile


Children and Adult services are available now with no wait time.  

Please contact HBH at 860-548-0101, option 2.


powered by centersite dot net