Diagnostic, Predictive and Prognostic Molecular Biomarkers in Pancreatic Cancer: An Overview for Clinicians
Institute of Health Innovations and Outcomes Research, The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, Northwell Health, Manhasset, NY 11030, USA
Department of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Adam E. Frampton and Torben Frøstrup Hansen
Cancers 2021, 13(5), 1071; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13051071
Received: 27 December 2020 / Revised: 13 February 2021 / Accepted: 27 February 2021 / Published: 3 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Biomarkers and Precision Medicine for Pancreatic, Liver and Biliary Tract Cancers)
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cancer-related cause of death in the United States and is usually asymptomatic in early stages. There is a scarcity of tests that facilitate early diagnosis or accurately predict the disease progression. To this end, biomarkers have been identified as important tools in the diagnosis and management of pancreatic cancer. Despite the increasing number of biomarkers described in the literature, most of them have demonstrated moderate sensitivity and/or specificity and are far from being considered as screening tests. More efficient non-invasive biomarkers are needed to facilitate early-stage diagnosis and interventions. Multi-disciplinary collaboration might be required to facilitate the identification of such markers.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the most common pancreatic malignancy and is associated with aggressive tumor behavior and poor prognosis. Most patients with PDAC present with an advanced disease stage and treatment-resistant tumors. The lack of noninvasive tests for PDAC diagnosis and survival prediction mandates the identification of novel biomarkers. The early identification of high-risk patients and patients with PDAC is of utmost importance. In addition, the identification of molecules that are associated with tumor biology, aggressiveness, and metastatic potential is crucial to predict survival and to provide patients with personalized treatment regimens. In this review, we summarize the current literature and focus on newer biomarkers, which are continuously added to the armamentarium of PDAC screening, predictive tools, and prognostic tools.