Genetic analysis of pancreatic juice is a promising aid for the accurate and early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. K-ras mutation is frequently observed in pancreatic cancer; however, it is not specific for carcinoma because pancreatic adenoma and pancreatitis also show this mutation. Overexpression of p53 protein is solely detected in pancreatic juice from pancreatic cancer patients, but the positivity rate differs among various reports. Telomerase activity in pancreatic juice was detected in 20 of 24 (83.3%) pancreatic cancer patients and in only 1 of 23 (4.3%) pancreatic adenoma patients, while none of 23 (0%) pancreatitis patients showed evident telomerase activity. The relative value for telomerase activity was significantly higher in parcreatic cancer than in adenoma and pancreatitis. Centrosome abnormalities are very frequently seen in pancreas cancer tissues and the detection of these abnormalities is expected to be a potent new diagnostic tool for the genetic analysis of pancreatic juice. Genetic analysis of pancreatic juice will improve the sensitivity and specificity of pancreatic cancer diagnosis.
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