Confirmation of a potential biomarker for early-stage pancreatic cancer

Arthur A. Topilow, John M. Davis, Jerome J. Vernick, Dengda Tang, Siobhan Corbett, Thomas Veltman, Sasha J. Wagner, Charles Gilvarg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: Pancreatic cancer has a dismal prognosis because it is often diagnosed at an advanced stage. Therefore, serological biomarkers are eagerly sought for early detection. The digestive enzyme pro-carboxypeptidase A (PCPA) may be able to fill this role. The purpose of this study was to validate and extend previous research done at New York University (NYU), demonstrating that measurement of serum PCPA is a sensitive biomarker for early stage pancreatic cancer. Materials and methods: Samples were collected from 10 early and 16 late stage patients at Jersey Shore University Medical Center (JSUMC) and Robert Wood Johnson Hospital (RWJ) with adenocarcinoma of the head of the pancreas. Results: The percentages of early and late stage cancer patients with PCPA values above the upper limit (2.35u/L) were 90.0% and 56.0%, respectively. Mean PCPA values for early and late stage cancer were determined to be 22.95u/L and 3.55u/L, respectively. In one case, the prospective patient was detected by our assay one month before diagnosis. Additionally, data from an ampullary cancer patient supports the proposed mechanism behind this test. Conclusions: Combining the JSUMC and NYU results show 94% sensitivity, demonstrating that determining serum PCPA has the requisite sensitivity to detect early stage pancreatic cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-33
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Biomarkers
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


  • Early detection
  • carboxypeptidase
  • pancreatic cancer
  • procarboxypeptidase
  • sensitivity


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