A multidisciplinary team from the University of Granada has developed software that will facilitate the identification of potential biomarkers of pancreatic cancer, which will provide an earlier diagnosis of the disease. These biomarkers are differentially expressed genes indicative of cancer.
Now experts are faced with two problems when trying to diagnose pancreatic cancer. Firstly, the patient's genetic data can be collected using multiple platforms, for example, Affymetrix and Illumina, but these heterogeneous data is sometimes difficult to analyze. Secondly, 80% of patients have had metastatic disease at diagnosis due to a lack of reliable biomarkers that could help detect the disease at an earlier stage. Thus, all improvements, aimed at identifying new biomarkers of disease, need for early diagnosis of cancer and improve the prognosis.
A study published in the journal PLOS ONE, - another step towards addressing these problems. New software developed by the research combines genetic data from multiple microarray platforms and sorts them to identify specific sensitive biomarkers for pancreatic cancer.
Sensitivity and specificity of a biomarker means a level of accuracy of the prediction of cancer. The more sensitive biomarker, the more likely that he will show it to pancreatic cancer and not other diseases. Several studies have failed to establish a more specific and sensitive biomarkers, but the process of their identification difficult.
These complications are related to the fact that currently there are many processes for the preparation of samples, labeling and microarray platforms, which often leads to a difference in the readings. Integrative systems are likely to become fundamental tools for earlier and more effective diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
Thanks to the new integrative software, the researchers not only identified five potential biomarkers of disease, but also 28 new genes that were differentiated only in the meta-analysis, rather than in separate trials. This is due to the fact that these genes that are currently in the analysis stage, indicate pancreatic cancer, only when integrated with multiple data sets. The use of new potential biomarkers is very important, because the only biomarker that is currently in clinical use, has recently turned out to be unreliable diagnostic tool due to its limited sensitivity.