Researchers have found the early signs of pancreatic cancer that show the symptom’s for the disease appear.
Seventy percent of pancreatic cancer patients die within one year of diagnosis, and only 5.8 percent survive five years, the data show. That’s because the disease usually isn’t caught until it’s reached an advanced stage.
But scientists at The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute — at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — and other institutions are providing hope.
They say they’ve discovered an early sign of the disease — an increase in certain amino acids that can occur years before the first symptoms appear.
The researchers say the uptick isn’t big enough to be the basis of a new test. But they say it gives them vital information into how the disease attacks the body, opening the door to earlier detection and better treatment.
They based their study on blood samples from 1,500 people, comparing those who went on to develop pancreatic cancer with those who did not.
They found an increase in branched chain amino acids — the result of a breakdown in muscle tissue that took place early in the disease process.