A research team at the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) has identified six genes as molecular markers for effective prognosis prediction in pancreatic cancer patients.
Pancreatic cancer is the eighth-leading cause of death in Taiwan and its prognosis has been considered poor due to the fact that it is often diagnosed at a late stage, the team said, adding that less than one in five pancreatic cancer patients are diagnosed with the disease in its early stages.
The team said as many as 80 percent of those who underwent surgical removal die of recurrent cancer within five years after the surgery.
The pancreatic cancer research team at NHRI, in cooperation with the upper gastrointestinal cancer medical team at National Cheng Kung University, has worked on developing postoperative molecular markers for pancreatic cancer prognosis prediction for potential targeted therapies.
The group found six genetic markers that play an important role in multiplying pancreatic cancer stem cells and aggravating the cancer.
Animal experimentation showed that by inhibiting the gene expressions of the genetic markers, the pancreatic cancer stem cells and cancer metastasis can be effectively suppressed and prolong survival, the research team said.
The prognosis prediction using the molecular markers is said to be 95 percent accurate, which is much higher than the prediction accuracy of the clinical pathological indicators and other known molecular markers.
A provisional patent application for the research result has been filed in the US, the team said, adding that the research findings will be published in next month’s issue of Gastroenterology.