(HealthDay News) – A pancreatic cancer vaccine, algenpantucel-L, may improve survival when added to standard therapy; and a four-dimensional elastic light scattering fingerprinting (4D-ELF) technology optic probe may allow pancreatic cancer to be diagnosed during endoscopy, according to two studies presented at the annual Digestive Disease Week, held from May 19–22 in San Diego.

In the first study, Jeffrey M Hardacre, MD, from University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, and colleagues treated 70 patients undergoing pancreatic cancer surgery with algenpantucel-L immunotherapy (100 or 300 million cells) and standard adjuvant therapy as part of a Phase 2 study. The researchers found that overall survival at one year was 86%, compared with 69% in historical controls. Overall survival was longer in patients receiving the higher dose.

In the second study, Mihir K. Patel, MD, from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL, and colleagues tested a 4D-ELF technology optic probe during endoscopy on 10 patients with pancreatic cancer and nine patients without pancreatic lesions. The probe was designed to measure changes in deoxyhemoglobin concentration (DHB) and blood vessel radius (BVR) in the small intestine produced by a growing cancer in the neighboring pancreas. The researchers found that the readings at the ampullary region had the maximum ability to differentiate cancer from control. Using both DHB and BVR, the probe could detect pancreatic cancer with a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 63%.

“This novel method can potentially [be] helpful for the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer from a distance by less invasive method,” Patel and colleagues write.

More Information