Mayo Clinic is initiating a two-year landmark study, the EXamination of the PAncreas in New Diabetes (EXPAND) Trial: A Novel strategy to screen for pancreatic cancer, funded by Sandler-Kenner Foundation. The study is being led by Suresh Chari, M.D, Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic. The strategy has been developed based on fifteen years of research into the relationship between diabetes and pancreatic cancer. These studies have utilized data from the Rochester Epidemiological Project (REP) and research on thousands of patients with pancreatic cancer seen at the Mayo Clinic. The goal of this study is define a strategy for early detection of pancreatic cancer in subjects with new-onset of diabetes over age 50 years, a high-risk patient population for pancreatic cancer identified by earlier studies by the Mayo group. “This study has the potential to provide medical practitioners with a practical approach to diagnose pancreatic cancer at an earlier stage and improve life expectancy,” remarked Dr. Chari.
The importance of this study was underscored by Vay Liang W. Go, M.D., Editor-in-Chief, Pancreas and Director, UCLA Center for Excellence in Pancreatic DiseaseResearchin his recent statement, “This is the first screening program for sporadic (nonfamilial) pancreatic cancer that is being conducted anywhere in the United States and internationally.”
Studies on pancreatic cancer are severely limited by their focus on advanced, symptomatic cancers. Biomarker research is also limited by having only samples from symptomatic patients. However, to make advances in early detection, pancreatic cancer needs to be studied before cancer symptoms appear. Dr. Chari’s team intends to study 1,000 subjects with new-onset diabetes over the next two years to address these challenges. Information gained from this project will lead to a practical pancreatic cancer screening program that will allow doctors to screen for asymptomatic pancreatic cancer in people with new-onset diabetes – a potential major breakthrough in pancreatic cancer research.