New pancreatic cancer test could increase survival rates to 60%


More than 85% of patients are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when it’s too late for surgery.

The world’s first urine test which detects early stage pancreatic cancer could increase longer-term survival rates from 5% to 60% if successfully rolled out, the professor who developed it says.

The simple test, developed by Professor Tatjana Crnogorac-Jurcevic of Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, has reached the final stage of validation before being developed for use with patients.

Nearly 10,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year in the UK, but only around five in every 100 patients will live for five years or more beyond their diagnosis.

This is the lowest survival rate of any common cancer and is partly due to late diagnosis – more than 85% of patients are diagnosed too late for surgery, limiting their treatment options.

Professor Crnogorac-Jurcevic said: “We’ve been working on this biomarker research for over 10 years and I’m excited to reach this stage.

She added: “If we can detect pancreatic cancer when it’s still operable and when the tumours are small and not yet spread to other organs, we could see a significant impact on patient survival; removing tumours that are 1cm or smaller can increase five-year survival to around 60%.”

The test works by measuring levels of three specific proteins found in urine that were identified by Professor Crnogorac Jurcevic as biomarkers of early stage pancreatic cancer.