August 16, 2019 – Pancreatic Cysts


Anchor lead: Can a new method of assessing cysts in the pancreas help identify cancer? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Cancer of the pancreas is deadly, with limited ways to catch the disease early. Now a new test integrating a number of characteristics of cysts found in the pancreas may help predict which ones may be cancerous. Anne Marie Lennon, a pancreas cancer expert at Johns Hopkins and one of the test’s developers, explains.

Lennon:  What we’ve set about doing is developing a comprehensive pancreatic cyst test, which we call CompCyst for short. We used alterations in DNA and combined it with protein markers and clinical features to develop a combination test to identify these three groups of patients: those who had cysts that are noncancerous which need no follow up, those who have precancerous, mucin producing cysts who benefit from surveillance, and those who have cancerous cysts who benefit from surgical resection.  :32

Lennon says many cysts are found in the pancreas when people have imaging for other reasons, and determining whether they are potentially dangerous is important. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.