University of Missouri School of Medicine MU Health School of Medicine
News Divider

MU Study Finds More Accurate Method to Diagnose Pancreatic Cancer


Group of four screening characteristics offers more reliable identification

Researchers from the University of Missouri have found a more accurate laboratory method for diagnosing pancreatic cancer, the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The disease causes more than 38,000 deaths each year in the United States, and kills 94 percent of people with the illness within five years, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Layfield
Layfield

"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," said Lester Layfield, MD, professor and chair of the MU School of Medicine's Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences. "Our goal was to find a way to make a more accurate and reproducible diagnosis."

Because of the pancreas' location within the body, no routine screening methods, such as mammography for breast cancer, exist for detecting pancreatic cancer.

If a physician suspects a patient may have pancreatic cancer, a biopsy of the pancreatic tissue is taken through a minimally invasive technique called endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration.

"Traditionally, pathologists have examined a tissue sample through a microscope and made a diagnosis based on the overall features of all the cells in the tissue sample," Layfield said. "Previous research has shown an experienced pathologist can diagnose pancreatic cancer with accuracy in the mid-to-upper 80 percent range using current techniques. However, we wanted to develop a more accurate method by determining which cellular features are most closely associated with cancer."

To develop the new diagnostic method, MU researchers performed a retrospective 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 by multiple pathologists and which were most likely to be associated with pancreatic cancer.

"Through our analysis, we developed a group of four characteristics that allow a pathologist to diagnose pancreatic cancer with 93 percent accuracy — a substantial improvement over the traditional method," Layfield said. "I believe this new technique can help pathologists improve the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, ultimately improving care for patients by providing an evidence-based approach to diagnosing the disease and determining the best treatment."

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 study, "Risk Stratification Using Morphological Features in Endoscopic-ultrasonography Guided Fine Needle Aspirations of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma," was presented at the American Society for Clinical Pathology's 2013 annual meeting.

Click here to download a high resolution portrait of Layfield.




MU Health Magazine

Divider

News and Events

Koopman Clinic Notes Should Be Re-Engineered to Meet Needs of Physicians
Better documentation tools can lead to more efficient, safer patient care

Altes named Radiology Chair Altes Named MU Radiology Chair
Altes excels in bench to bedside research, teaching and mentoring students, and clinical care

Protein Packed Breakfast Protein-Packed Breakfast Prevents Body Fat Gain in Overweight Teens
High-protein breakfast also improves teens’ glycemic control

White Coat Ceremony 2015 White Coat Ceremony Marks Start of Professional Journey for 104 Students
Students receive 'cloak of compassion' and pledge to uphold medicine's highest values

Eduardo Simoes, MD Tool Helps Public Health Agencies Prioritize Health Risks
Researcher works with Brazil to identify top risks for chronic diseases

Washington and Khosla U.S. South Asians More Reluctant to Seek Medication for Pain
Health care workers should be culturally aware when caring for patients, families

Segal Blood Vessels Can Actually Get Better With Age
Study finds that arteries adapt to oxidative stress caused by aging

Koopman Professor Awarded $2.2 Million Grant for Clear Blood Pressure Display
Goal is user-friendly information for better patient understanding

Scallan Impact of Type 2 Diabetes on Lymphatic Vessels Identified
Amino acid found in red meat, poultry may improve lymphatic function in diabetes

Springfield MU, CoxHealth, Mercy Address Critical Shortage of Physicians
Construction starts on new $42.5 million Patient-Centered Care Learning Center

Parrish Age-related self-destruction of cells makes kidney prone to injury
Researchers identify how the kidney cells’ self-destruct messages are spread

Staveley-O'Carroll Staveley-O’Carroll Named Surgery Chair, Cancer Center Director
Staveley-O’Carroll is accomplished physician-scientist

Mini Med High School Students get Hands-On Medical School Experience
MU School of Medicine hosts High School Mini Medical School




Media Relations
University of Missouri Health System
One Hospital Drive, DC028.00
Columbia, MO 65212
24/7 on-call pager: (573) 876-0708

Mary Jenkins
jenkinsmg@health.missouri.edu
(573) 882-7299

Jeff Hoelscher
hoelscherj@health.missouri.edu
(573) 884-1608

Derek Thompson
thompsonder@health.missouri.edu
(573) 882-3323

Diamond Dixon
DixonDi@health.missouri.edu
(573) 884-7541

Justin Kelley (Photographer)
kelleyju@health.missouri.edu
(573) 882-5786
Pager (573) 397-9289


Web Communications
University of Missouri Health System
One Hospital Drive, MA204G, DC018.00
Columbia, MO 65212
(573) 884-0298

Rich Gleba
glebar@health.missouri.edu
(573) 884-0298

Laura Gerding, APR
gerdingla@health.missouri.edu
(573) 882-9193

Velvet Hasner
hasnerv@health.missouri.edu
(573) 884-1115

Justin Willett
willettj@health.missouri.edu
(573) 884-7740



Printer Friendly
Follow us on Twitter!   Facebook   YouTube Videos   Instagram   Pinterest  
Website created and maintained by the Office of Communications. Contact the MU School of Medicine.
Revised: January 03, 2014 - Copyright © 2014 - Curators of the University of Missouri. All rights reserved. DMCA and other copyright information. An equal opportunity/access/affirmative action/pro-disabled and veteran employer.