Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Pancreatic cancer has a very poor prognosis. Biomarkers that may help predict or diagnose pancreatic cancer may lead to earlier diagnosis and improved survival. METHODS: The prospective China Kadoorie Biobank (CKB) recruited 512 891 adults aged 30-79 years during 2004-08, recording 702 incident cases of pancreatic cancer during 9 years of follow-up. We conducted a case-subcohort study measuring 92 proteins in 610 cases and a subcohort of 623 individuals, using the OLINK immuno-oncology panel in stored baseline plasma samples. Cox regression with the Prentice pseudo-partial likelihood was used to estimate adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for risk of pancreatic cancer by protein levels. RESULTS: Among 1233 individuals (including 610 cases), several chemokines, interleukins, growth factors and membrane proteins were associated with risk of pancreatic cancer, with adjusted HRs per 1 standard deviation (SD) of 0.86 to 1.86, including monocyte chemotactic protein 3 (MCP3/CCL7) {1.29 [95% CI (confidence interval) (1.10, 1.51)]}, angiopoietin-2 (ANGPT2) [1.27 (1.10, 1.48)], interleukin-18 (IL18) [1.24 (1.07, 1.43)] and interleukin-6 (IL6) [1.21 (1.06, 1.38)]. Associations between some proteins [e.g. matrix metalloproteinase-7 (MMP7), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and tumour necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 9 [TNFRSF9)] and risk of pancreatic cancer were time-varying, with higher levels associated with higher short-term risk. Within the first year, the discriminatory ability of a model with known risk factors (age, age squared, sex, region, smoking, alcohol, education, diabetes and family history of cancer) was increased when several proteins were incorporated (weighted C-statistic changed from 0.85 to 0.99; P for difference = 4.5 × 10-5), although only a small increase in discrimination (0.77 to 0.79, P = 0.04) was achieved for long-term risk. CONCLUSIONS: Several plasma proteins were associated with subsequent diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. The potential clinical utility of these biomarkers warrants further investigation.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Epidemiol

Publication Date





817 - 829


Pancreatic cancer, biomarkers, early diagnosis, proteomics, risk prediction, Adult, Biomarkers, China, Humans, Pancreatic Neoplasms, Prospective Studies, Risk Factors