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.
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.