Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (Pdac) is a malignancy with a poor prognosis due to difficulties in early detection. Although promising biomarkers are increasingly reported, such methods are not yet easy to apply clinically, mainly due to their low reproducibility or technical difficulties. In this study, we developed a convenient and sensitive method for quantifying aberrantly expressed satellite repeat RNAs in sera, which can be used to efficiently detect patients with Pdac. Here, we introduce a Tandem Repeat Amplification by nuclease Protection (TRAP) method combined with droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) to detect human satellite II (HSATII) RNAs, which are specifically expressed in human Pdacs at greater levels than normal tissues but are difficult to measure due to their repetitive sequences and irregularities. HSATII RNA core sequence levels in sera were significantly higher in Pdac patients compared with noncancer patients (median copy number: 14.75 and 3.17 per μl in the training set and 17.35 and 2.9 in the validation set, respectively). In addition, patients with intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN), a precancerous lesion of Pdac, could also be efficiently detected. This method can be routinely applied to screen patients with Pdac and high-risk patients, facilitating the development of preventive medicine for this disease.


Takahiro Kishikawa, Motoyuki Otsuka, Takeshi Yoshikawa, Motoko Ohno, Keisuke Yamamoto, Natsuyo Yamamoto, Ai Kotani, Kazuhiko Koike


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