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Scientists find new method of diagnosing pancreatic cancer

By Tim Sandle     Nov 8, 2013 in Health
Scientists appear to have found a more accurate laboratory method for diagnosing pancreatic cancer, based on visual analysis of patient specimens.
Pancreatic cancer can be difficult to diagnose because of subtle differences that distinguish between healthy tissue, cancerous tissue and tissue that is atypical, or suspicious. However, a research team may have found a new method to make this task easier.
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 45,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year and more than 38,000 will die from it.
To develop the new diagnostic method, researchers performed a study of the records from 57 patients at University of Missouri Health Care who were tested for pancreatic cancer. They evaluated 16 features of pancreatic biopsies that could be evaluated under a microscope and performed a statistical analysis to determine which could be most reliably identified and which were most likely to be associated with pancreatic cancer.
The four features of pancreatic cancer the researchers identified are:
a wide variation in the size of pancreatic cells' nuclei, called anisonucleosis,
oversized nucleoli, called macronucleoli,
single atypical epithelia cells, a type of cell found in the pancreas,
mucinous metaplasia, which is the production of mucin in cells that normally don't produce the substance.
The research was the undertaken at the University of Missouri and led by Lester Layfield, MD.
More about Pancreatic cancer, Cancer, Organs
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