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Circulating Cell-Free Tumour DNA for Early Detection of Pancreatic Cancer

MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Francis Crick Avenue, Cambridge CB2 0QH, UK
Department of Medical Oncology, Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester M20 4BX, UK
Division of Cancer Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
Department of Oncology, University of Oxford, Old Road Campus Research Building, Roosevelt Drive, Oxford OX3 7DQ, UK
Department of Medical Oncology, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford OX3 7LE, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cancers 2020, 12(12), 3704;
Received: 23 November 2020 / Accepted: 4 December 2020 / Published: 9 December 2020
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has a poor 5-year survival rate and is the 7th leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the world. The high mortality for this disease is partly due to late presentation rendering therapeutics ineffective. Since a majority of patients are diagnosed at advanced stages due to the lack of specific symptoms, and the prognosis is linked to the stage of detection, there is a need for robust early detection methods for PDAC. Here, we review the potential use of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) as a non-invasive biomarker in the early detection of pancreatic cancer. In brief ctDNA levels in blood correlate with disease progression but its widespread application for early PDAC detection requires further investigation and potentially, a combination of ctDNA sequence and methylome analysis with other, protein-based biomarkers.
Pancreatic cancer is a lethal disease, with mortality rates negatively associated with the stage at which the disease is detected. Early detection is therefore critical to improving survival outcomes. A recent focus of research for early detection is the use of circulating cell-free tumour DNA (ctDNA). The detection of ctDNA offers potential as a relatively non-invasive method of diagnosing pancreatic cancer by using genetic sequencing technology to detect tumour-specific mutational signatures in blood samples before symptoms manifest. These technologies are limited by a number of factors that lower sensitivity and specificity, including low levels of detectable ctDNA in early stage disease and contamination with non-cancer circulating cell-free DNA. However, genetic and epigenetic analysis of ctDNA in combination with other standard diagnostic tests may improve early detection rates. In this review, we evaluate the genetic and epigenetic methods under investigation in diagnosing pancreatic cancer and provide a perspective for future developments. View Full-Text
Keywords: circulating cell-free tumour DNA; pancreatic cancer; pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma circulating cell-free tumour DNA; pancreatic cancer; pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma
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MDPI and ACS Style

Jaworski, J.J.; Morgan, R.D.; Sivakumar, S. Circulating Cell-Free Tumour DNA for Early Detection of Pancreatic Cancer. Cancers 2020, 12, 3704.

AMA Style

Jaworski JJ, Morgan RD, Sivakumar S. Circulating Cell-Free Tumour DNA for Early Detection of Pancreatic Cancer. Cancers. 2020; 12(12):3704.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Jaworski, Jedrzej J., Robert D. Morgan, and Shivan Sivakumar. 2020. "Circulating Cell-Free Tumour DNA for Early Detection of Pancreatic Cancer" Cancers 12, no. 12: 3704.

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