Public Release: 

Detecting an early biomarker for pancreatic cancer in blood

JCI Journals

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is one of the most aggressive and deadliest forms of cancer. Treatment options are limited because symptoms typically do not appear until the disease is advanced and complete surgical resection of tumors is not possible. In this issue of JCI Insight, a group of researchers led by Motoyuki Otsuka at the University of Tokyo describe a pilot study of a new method for detecting a pancreatic cancer biomarker in patient serum. Previous work has shown that an RNA known as human satellite II (HSATII) RNA is highly enriched in human pancreatic cancer tissue. This RNA contains repetitive elements that make it difficult to detect with conventional methods. This study now reports a method to easily and specifically quantify HSATII in blood serum from pancreatic cancer patients. They show in an initial cohort of 20 cancer patients and 20 normal patients that HSATII levels are significantly higher in serum from individuals with pancreatic cancer. They validated these findings in a second cohort of patients and showed that the test could detect patients with intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm, a precancerous pancreatic lesion. These studies provide a promising early detection method for pancreatic cancer that can now be tested in a larger cohort of pancreatic cancer patients.


TITLE: Quantitation of circulating satellite RNAs in pancreatic cancer patients

AUTHOR CONTACT: Motoyuki Otsuka
The University of Tokyo

View this article at:

JCI Insight is the newest publication from the American Society of Clinical Investigation, a nonprofit honor organization of physician-scientists. JCI Insight is dedicated to publishing a range of translational biomedical research with an emphasis on rigorous experimental methods and data reporting. All articles published in JCI Insight are freely available at the time of publication. For more information about JCI Insight and all of the latest articles go to

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.