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November 10, 2015

Building the Evidence Base in Health Care Delivery — Underutilization of Inexpensive Test Could Have Dire Consequences

By Elizabeth Zimmermann

microscopic slide of pancreatic tumor cellsCA 19-9 tumor marker test especially important for early-stage patients, Mayo finds

Only 1 in 5 U.S. pancreatic cancer patients receive a widely available, inexpensive blood test at diagnosis that can help predict whether they are likely to have a better or worse outcome than average and guide treatment accordingly, a Mayo Clinic study shows. People who test positive for elevated levels of a particular tumor marker tend to do worse than others, but if they are candidates for surgery and have chemotherapy before their operations, this personalized treatment sequence eliminates the elevated biomarker’s negative effect, researchers found.

The findings were presented at the Western Surgical Association annual meeting Nov. 7-10 in Napa, California.

This reseach was conducted by investigators within the Department of Surgery and the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery. Contributors included: John Bergquist, M.D.; Carlos Puig, M.D.; Christopher Shubert, M.D.; Ryan Groeschl, M.D.; Elizabeth Habermann, Ph.D.; Michael Kendrick, M.D.; David Nagorney, M.D.; Rory Smoot, M.D.; Michael Farnell, M.D.; and Mark Truty, M.D.

Read the news release.

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Tags: Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, Elizabeth Habermann, Findings, pancreatic cancer

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