Washington: Scientists have found the early signs of pancreatic cancer that show the symptom's for the disease appear.
Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and other institutions, identified that an upsurge in certain amino acids that occurs before the disease is diagnosed, which is a sign of the early development of the disease.
Although the increase wasn't large enough to be the basis of a new test for early detection of the disease, the findings would help researchers understand better how pancreatic cancer affected the rest of the body, particularly how it could trigger the sometimes deadly muscle-wasting disease known as cachexia.
The researchers utilized blood samples collected years earlier from 1,500 people participating in large health-tracking studies. They analyzed the samples for more than 100 different metabolites, substances produced by the metabolic process, and compared the results from participants who had gone on to develop pancreatic cancer and those who had not.
Brian Wolpin, co-senior author of the new study said they found that the higher levels of branched chain amino acids were present in people who went on to develop pancreatic cancer compared to those who did not develop the disease.
The amount of time that would elapse before those individuals were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer ranged from two to 25 years, although the highest risk was in the several years before diagnosis, the researchers found.
He added that it helped them to hypothesize that the increase in branched chain amino acids was due to the presence of an early pancreatic tumor.
The researchers found the increase was due to a breakdown of muscle tissue, which caused branched amino acids to be released into the bloodstream. The process was similar to what occurs in patients with cancer cachexia.
The study is due to be published in the journal Nature Medicine.