“The test involving MicroRNAs - that regulate gene expression and play important roles in the development of tumours - could diagnose more patients with pancreatic cancer, some of them at an early stage,” the researchers said.

Researchers, however, caution that the findings are preliminary and further research is necessary to understand whether these microRNAs have clinical implications as a screening test for early detection of pancreatic cancer.

A research team led by Nicolai A. Schultz, of Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark examined differences in microRNA in blood between patients with pancreatic cancer and healthy participants.

The researchers identified two novel panels with the potential for diagnosing pancreatic cancer. MicroRNA panels are a combination of several microRNAs.

The test has a potential to increase the number of patients that can be operated on and possibly cured of pancreatic cancer, said the study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA).

Further research is necessary to understand whether these have clinical implications for early detection of pancreatic cancer, the study added.

Although there are no specific studies about causes of pancreatic cancer, doctors blame it on sedentary lifestyle, smoking and high alcohol intake.

People suffering from diabetes and chronic pancreatic inflammation are also at risk.


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