Advances in diagnosis of colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer

Piotr Paweł Wysocki, Elżbieta Świętochowska, Paweł Kiczmer, Zofia Ostrowska



Introduction: Current advanced diagnostic methods enable us to diagnose and differentiate many diseases in their early stages, but early detection of pancreatic cancer and colorectal cancer remains a challenge for today’s medicine. Currently sought techniques are those limiting the use of invasive methods and imaging tests, which often do not dispel doubts. In many scientific studies research is driven by two main mechanisms of carcinogenesis – gene mutations and chronic inflammatory disease.

Colorectal cancer: For colorectal cancer there is a promising faecal immunochemical test, taking into account the concentration of haemoglobin in the faeces. Another diagnostic aspect of this tumour may be a test for the presence of various combinations of antibodies against antigens asso­ciated with the occurrence of cancer, for example: livin, survivin, carbohydrate antigen 19-9, carcino-embryonic antigen, X chromosome-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein, etc. In view of the mechanism of chronic inflammation of the organ as a cause of cancer, there are interesting studies carried out on arachidonic acid metabolites in the urine of patients with colon cancer.

Pancreatic cancer: In the case of pancreatic cancer research it is conducted on mutations of chromosomes 8q, 9p and SKAP2 gene, and the hypermethylation of genes such as SFRP1, MESTv2, APC. Also noteworthy is the analysis of the concentrations of adipokines like omentin and adiponectin in the blood of patients with tumours or chronic inflammations of organs. Another strategy for the early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer may be a study of miRNAs as an oncogene or suppressor of tumour transformation, for example: miRNA-21 and miRNA-155, which may also allow the differentiation of benign and malignant lesions.

Conclusions: These methods provide new opportunities for the identification of cancers, but a lot of research still has to be carried out before they become the basic tools incorporated in clinical diagnostic panels.


pancreas; colon; tumour; mutation; inflammation


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