Can a new blood marker predict who might develop diabetes or die from cancer? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Prostasin is the name of a blood marker that seems to be associated with someone’s risk of developing diabetes and perhaps also to the risk of dying from cancer. Kimmel Cancer Center director William Nelson at Johns Hopkins, says the role of prostasin needs to be investigated further.

Nelson: If you look at the quartile of people who had the highest levels versus the lowest levels there was a 95% increase in the propensity to develop diabetes. The risk to get it was about 76% higher over time. There was an increased risk for cancer mortality as well, it wasn’t as strong. These folks were arguing that perhaps we could use a measurement of this along with fasting blood glucose and these other tools to handicap who might be at greater risk to get diabetes and might be at greater risk for cancer.  :33

Nelson notes that this study relied on a single measurement of prostasin, and what is needed is data on how the factor changes over time. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.