Pancreatic cysts have the potential to develop into malignant cancer growth, yet effective biomarkers are not available and monitoring cysts for malignant transformation is difficult. The goal of this research is to identify biomarkers in pancreatic cyst fluid that distinguishes malignant vs. benign cancerous growths to address this clinical problem.
Pancreatic cysts can be biopsied to collect fluid surrounding the cyst cavity. Using mass spectrometry, these researchers are trying to determine the chemical composition of the cyst fluid to see if there are differences in the amounts and types of metabolites present in the fluid of malignant cysts as compared to benign cysts. They have identified a few potential compounds that are selectively in, or absent from, malignant biopsies. They are currently focused on trying to identify what these compounds are to determine whether they could be used as a biomarker.