Early diagnosis is likely to improve the outcome and survival in patients who have pancreatic cancer. The sensitivity and specificity of current screening methods, however, limit their applicability to individuals at high risk for developing pancreatic cancer. Further development of serum markers may lead to improved diagnostic accuracy and allow screening to be implemented more broadly. Proteomic profiling and evaluation of panels of markers hold particular promise for the future. This article provides a review of current methods and results for the early detection and staging of pancreatic cancer, and discusses some potential areas for future development.
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