To conduct this study, the researchers studied a group of people suffering from Pancreatic cancer and matched controls. Over a period of five years before the cancer was diagnosed, changes in fasting blood glucose, body weight and blood lipids of the participants were studied and serial CT scans were reviewed.
This helped them in spotting changes in participants' subcutaneous fat, visceral fat and muscle over time. They deduced that in patients suffering from pancreatic cancer, the metabolic changes in their bodies and rise in blood pressure started 36 months before when the cancer was diagnosed.
They also found that weight loss and a decrease in blood lipids, including triglycerides, total cholesterol and low-density cholesterol started at least 18 months prior to the diagnosis of the cancer.
Suresh Chari, a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and senior author of the study said, “Developing strategies for the early detection of pancreatic cancer in people without symptoms is critical for improving survival. We observed [those] subcutaneous fat levels start decreasing approximately 18 months prior to a pancreatic cancer diagnosis, and coincide with a decrease in body weight and lipids.”
Chari added, “Visceral fat and muscle decreased in the last six months prior to a pancreatic cancer diagnosis and coincided with the development of advanced cancer symptoms. Brown fat generates body heat, a phenomenon especially prominent in newborn babies but much less so in adults.”
Through this study, three metabolic phases that happen prior to a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer were identified. The first phase, happens at 36 to 18 months prior the diagnose and the patient’s body goes through rise in blood glucose levels during this phase.
The second phase happens at 8 to 6 months prior to diagnose and the lipids and during this phase weight of patient’s body start decreasing. These effects are accompanied by browning of subcutaneous fat and a rise in body temperature.
The third phase happens at 6 to zero months prior to diagnose and is identified by further rise in blood glucose levels and body temperature. Along with this, lipids weight; and soft tissues that include subcutaneous fat, visceral fat and muscle also start decreasing in patient’s body.
From this study, it was proved that UCP-1 gene levels are clearly increased in patients with pancreatic cancer. To check its reliability, supporting data from animal and experimental studies was taken.
It was deduced that UCP-1 can be used as a biomarker to predict pancreatic cancer in people suffering with new-onset or long-standing diabetes.