In a great achievement, doctors at King George's Medical University (KGMU) have combined two blood markers to develop a new method to provide near-perfect accuracy in identifying gallbladder cancer.
Professor Preeti Agrawal, who is a faculty member in the pathology department of KGMU, said the current method to diagnose gallbladder cancer uses a substance called carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA 19-9).
However, Prof. Preeti said that its accuracy is compromised because it is also associated with pancreatic cancer. This connection causes misdiagnosis due to similarities between two types of cancer. To deal with this issue, Prof. Preeti and her team incorporated another marker, carbohydrate antigen 242 (CA242), alongside CA 19–9.
The combination of CA-19-9 and CA242 resulted in almost 100 percent accuracy. This combination also surpasses the 82 percent accuracy of the single marker approach.
The findings and methodology of the study have been published in the International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences under the title Inclusion of carbohydrate antigen 242 in addition to carbohydrate antigen 19-9 in the serological workup of carcinoma gall bladder: A case series analysis. The paper was published in December 2023.
Prof. Preeti said early detection of gallbladder cancer, which has a high mortality rate of around 70 percent, was crucial.
The study consists of a blood analysis of 83 people in the age group of 50–55, including healthy volunteers, chronic cholecystitis cases, and patients with gallbladder cancer.
The results showed significantly higher levels of both CA 19-9 and CA242 in gallbladder cancer patients, with a strong correlation between tumor size and CA242 levels.
This research is still in its early stages, so Prof. Preeti emphasized the need for additional validation and larger studies before incorporating this approach into routine clinical practice.
She stated that if successful, the dual-marker approach could revolutionize early detection, reduce misdiagnosis, and lead to better outcomes for patients.
(Input from various sources)