Objectives: Percutaneous fine-needle aspiration cytology or biopsy has been used for pathological confirmation in pancreatic cancer. Sometimes, it is difficult to approach the mass because of surrounding major vessels, and there is a risk of seeding. Although endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)-guided pancreatic duct brush cytology is less invasive, its reliability is very low. Recently, aberrantly methylated genes were reported in pancreatic cancer tissue. This study was to develop a novel molecular diagnostic approach based on epigenetic characteristics. Methods: We enrolled pathologically proven 33 pancreatic cancer patients and 22 benign pancreaticobiliary disease patients. The ERCP-guided pancreatic duct brush cytology samples were obtained. Genomic DNA was extracted, and NPTX2 CpG island hypermethylation was examined quantitatively by real-time polymerase chain reaction amplification after chemical modification. Results: Pancreatic cancer cytology samples had statistically significant higher levels of NPTX2 methylation compared with benign diseases, and the optimal cutoff value of NPTX2 methylation was 1.2%. The sensitivity was 87%, and specificity was 80%, whereas pathological examination by ERCP-guided pancreatic duct brush cytology had a sensitivity of 38%. Conclusions: The quantitative analysis of NPTX2 hypermethylation may play a role in making highly sensitive and less invasive diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Therefore, NPTX2 hypermethylation could be a promising molecular diagnostic marker.
- Pancreatic cancer