A study that aims to provide a faster diagnosis of patients with potential GI (Gastrointestinal) cancer by determining levels of plasma progastrin
A study that aims to provide a faster diagnosis of patients with potential GI (Gastrointestinal) cancer by determining levels of plasma progastrin.
Progastrin is a precursor to gastrin – a hormone which stimulates secretion of a gastric juice into the bloodstream. Plasma is a liquid that makes up 55% of blood. Plasma progastrin is the predicted presence of these gastric juices in the bloodstream.
Under current NHS guidelines, if a patient has suspected cancer symptoms, there is a 2 week wait pathway to make a diagnosis. This was set in place by the NHS to speed up diagnosis and to implement a more rapid initiation of treatment. At present, the guidelines state that a specialist opinion will be offered within 2 weeks, commencement of treatment from specialist review will be within 31 days and commencement of treatment from time of referral will be within 62 days. There are plans to further improve these target timelines. In practice, these guidelines produce an immense pressure on an already over-stretched system.
It would be extremely beneficial to develop a GI diagnostic screening test to predict which patients on the 2 weeks wait pathway have cancers and which don’t. Not only might this speed up
reviews of the most urgent GI cases, but it might also reduce investigations in those who do not, thus reducing costs.
Recent research indicates that plasma progastrin levels are higher in a significant number of abdominal malignancies. Cancers going on to develop secondary growths in the liver also produce
higher progastrin levels in plasma.