SAN DIEGO, May 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Early research using blood-based methylated DNA markers, identified through the longstanding collaboration between Exact Sciences and Mayo Clinic, demonstrates a potential to achieve 92% sensitivity and 92% specificity for detecting the most common type of pancreatic cancer. Researchers presented the findings at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) 2019, the largest international gathering of physicians, researchers and academics in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery.
“These pancreatic cancer data showcase the strength of our marker discovery collaboration with Mayo Clinic, a partnership that is fueling our product pipeline,” said Kevin Conroy, chairman and CEO of Exact Sciences. “We aim to identify a minimally-invasive marker for a disease that often goes undetected until it progresses to an advanced stage, when fewer treatment options exist.”
Pancreatic cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, half of all pancreatic cancer patients are diagnosed in later stages when the five-year median survival rate is only 3%. No major guidelines recommend routine screening for average risk patients because the current detection options have not shown to lower a patient’s risk of death.
Lead author and Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist Shounak Majumder, M.D. presented results from the 340-sample, case-control study. A panel of methylated DNA markers in plasma in combination with CA 19-9, achieved a cross-validated sensitivity of 79% in Stage 1, 82% in Stage 2, 94% in Stage 3 and 99% in Stage 4 pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) with 92% specificity (81-100%). This combination was significantly better than CA 19-9 alone. As Majumder writes in the abstract, “CA 19-9 is unreliable for early detection and may be normal in advanced disease.”
Statistical modeling was used to identify the best algorithm to predict disease status in this sample set. Subsequently, the panel was cross validated by randomly splitting the entire data set into training and testing sets. The fitted model from the training set was used to predict disease status in the test set over multiple iterations. This study used a small number of archival patient blood samples, which could lead to over-fitting to this particular sample set and cause subsequent sensitivity and specificity to decline in a larger, prospective population. A prospective validation study is currently underway at Mayo Clinic.
“Powered by more than a decade of work with Exact Sciences, Mayo Clinic researchers continue producing promising data, in this case on blood-based biomarkers for pancreatic cancer detection,” said Paul Limburg, MD, MPH, AGAF, Exact Sciences chief medical officer and Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist.i “While further research must be completed, this serves as an early indicator of encouraging news in the fight against this deadly disease.”
The Exact Sciences and Mayo Clinic collaboration focuses on identifying biomarkers for 15 of the deadliest cancers. A poster showing Mayo Clinic researchers work on esophageal cancer will also be presented at DDW.
About Exact Sciences Corp.
Exact Sciences Corp. is a molecular diagnostics company focused on the early detection and prevention of some of the deadliest forms of cancer. The company has exclusive intellectual property protecting its non-invasive, molecular screening technology for the detection of colorectal cancer. For more information, please visit the company’s website at www.ExactSciences.com, follow Exact Sciences on Twitter @ExactSciences or find Exact Sciences on Facebook.
Cologuard was approved by the FDA in August 2014 and results from Exact Sciences’ prospective 90-site, point-in-time, 10,000-patient pivotal trial were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in March 2014. Cologuard is included in the American Cancer Society’s (2018) colorectal cancer screening guidelines and the recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2016) and National Comprehensive Cancer Network (2016). Cologuard is indicated to screen adults of either sex, 50 years or older, who are at average risk for colorectal cancer. Cologuard is not for everyone and is not a replacement for diagnostic colonoscopy or surveillance colonoscopy in high-risk individuals, including those with a history of colorectal cancer and advanced adenoma, a family history of colorectal cancer, IBD or certain hereditary syndromes. False positives and false negatives do occur. Any positive test result should be followed by a diagnostic colonoscopy. Following a negative result, patients should continue participating in a screening program at an interval and with a method appropriate for the individual patient. Cologuard performance when used for repeat testing has not been evaluated or established. Medicare and most major insurers cover Cologuard. For more information about Cologuard, visit www.CologuardTest.com Rx Only.
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About Digestive Disease Week
Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) is the largest international gathering of physicians, researchers and academics in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery. Jointly sponsored by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) and the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract (SSAT), DDW takes place May 18-21, 2019, at the San Diego Convention Center. The meeting showcases more than 5,000 abstracts and hundreds of lectures on the latest advances in GI research, medicine and technology. More information can be found at www.ddw.org.
i Mayo Clinic and Dr. Limburg have a financial interest related to the technology referenced in this press release. Mayo Clinic will use any revenue it receives to support its not-for-profit mission in patient care, education and research.