Scientists at Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine have discovered the potential of the “New Tumor Marker Test” in identifying the stromal cell-derived factor 4 (SDF-4) protein as a reliable cancer marker. This breakthrough opens avenues for enhanced early detection of gastric cancer through convenient blood tests.
Nagoya University’s Breakthrough Research Sheds Light on a Game-Changing Tumor Marker
In a groundbreaking discovery, a research team led by the Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine has identified the stromal cell-derived factor 4 (SDF-4) protein as a reliable and promising cancer marker. The team’s findings suggest that simple blood tests can accurately detect this protein, presenting a potential breakthrough in the early detection of gastric cancer.
The Urgent Need for Improved Detection in Gastrointestinal Cancers
Gastrointestinal cancers, encompassing esophageal, gastric, colorectal, liver, and pancreatic cancer, often evade detection until it’s too late for effective treatment. Recognizing the critical need for a reliable marker, the research team delved into the potential of SDF-4, a biological substance indicating the presence of tumors. Early-stage therapy for gastric cancer has shown significant benefits, including improved outcomes and increased survival rates.
Challenging the Status Quo: Current Limitations of Tumor Marker Tests
The existing blood tests for cancer detection, relying on markers such as CEA and CA19-9, face limitations in accuracy and precision. These drawbacks have spurred the quest for alternative markers that offer enhanced reliability without the complexities of current methods.
“Currently, blood tests to detect cancers, such as gastric, colorectal, and breast cancer, have used tumor markers like CEA and CA19-9. However, these tumor markers do not always accurately detect all cancers, and their accuracy needs to be improved. Other markers have been proposed but have drawbacks, such as intricate, costly measurement procedures or invasive testing methods, that prevent their use.“Dr. Takahiro Shinozuka, first author of the study
Identifying SDF-4: A New Frontier in Cancer Marker Research
Under the leadership of Professor Yasuhiro Kodera, Dr. Mitsuro Kanda, and Dr. Shinozuka, the research group aimed to develop novel tumor markers for the early detection of various cancers. Their focus on proteins secreted by cancer cells led them to pinpoint SDF-4 as a promising candidate.
“Our goal was to create markers that could detect different types of cancer at an early stage, revolutionizing the landscape of cancer diagnosis,” explains Dr. Shinozuka.
SDF-4’s Diagnostic Prowess Unveiled
Through meticulous analysis of blood samples from both cancer patients and healthy individuals, the research team consistently found elevated levels of SDF-4 in cancer samples. The spectrum of cancers covered included gastric, esophageal, colorectal, pancreatic, breast, and liver cancers. These groundbreaking findings were published in Scientific Reports.
Sensitivity and Specificity: Redefining Cancer Diagnosis
In the realm of cancer diagnosis, sensitivity and specificity are pivotal. The research team’s evaluation of the SDF-4 protein revealed a sensitivity of 89% and a specificity of 99%, surpassing conventional tumor markers like CEA (13%) and CA19-9 (17%) in identifying cancer patients. Notably, the protein exhibited high levels even in patients with stage I gastric cancer, hinting at its potential for early cancer detection before symptoms emerge.
“SDF-4 outperforms conventional tumor markers in two crucial aspects: diagnosing early-stage cancer and serving as a diagnostic marker for various types of cancer,” emphasizes Dr. Shinozuka.
Shaping the Future: From Discovery to Implementation
The research team is actively collaborating with a company to develop measurement devices tailored for cancer screening. Success in these endeavors holds the promise of integrating SDF-4 into routine cancer screening, marking a significant stride towards early cancer detection and improved patient outcomes.
Provided by Nagoya University
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