Pancreatic Cancer is usually detected at late stages and most patients die within one year after diagnosis (Michl et al. 2021).
In PANCAID, we will therefore develop a blood test for early detection of Pancreatic cancer. Despite tremendous technological advances in Liquid Biopsy Diagnostics (LBx) (Alix-Panabières & Pantel 2021; Löhr & Pantel 2023, online ahead of print), this goal is very ambitious because small tumors release only minute amounts of cells or cellular products (e.g. DNA, RNA, proteins, metabolites) into the circulation.
Thus, tests with a high sensitivity are required but increases in sensitivity are usually achieved on the expenses of reduced specificity which can lead to significant overdiagnosis leading to unnecessary stress for the individuals with a false-positive blood test and high costs for health systems. In PANCAID, we will therefore establish a blood test with high accuracy by analyzing large cohorts of patients with pancreatic cancer and its precursor lesions, individuals at risk to develop pancreatic cancer and appropriate age-matched control groups.
The main objective of PANCAID is to provide a minimally invasive blood test using a comprehensive panel of liquid biopsy diagnostics (LBx) for early detection of pancreatic cancer and the malignant conversion of premalignant to invasive lesions.
To achieve this key aim, PANCAID will stepwise address the following specific objectives:
PANCAID could also have an impact on the way how pancreatic cancer is treated. Delayed detection often leads to treatments with a stronger focus on palliative care. Early detection may open possibilities for curative measures.