October 21, 2015

Biomarker for intestinal tumors

A new marker could be useful for diagnosing and treating neuroendocrine tumors of the small intestines.

The incidence of pancreatic and small intestinal neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) has risen over the past decade. NETs are the second most common cancers in the small intestine and pancreas and are frequently associated with liver metastasis.

Safia Salaria, M.D., and colleagues examined expression of CD24 – a biomarker for normal and cancer stem cells – in pancreatic and small intestinal NETs. They report in the October issue of the American Journal of Clinical Pathology that CD24 was expressed in 95 percent of primary NETs in the ileum – the final section of the small intestine – and that metastatic ileal NETs retained CD24 expression. CD24 was expressed in only 15 percent of NETs in the duodenum – the first section of the small intestine – and in only 5 percent of pancreatic NETs.

The findings suggest that CD24 may be used as a novel marker for identifying primary and metastatic midgut NETs. The authors also propose that CD24-reactive NETs may be candidates for anticancer stem cell therapies.

This work was supported by grants DK058404, CA095103 and CA096625 from the National Institutes of Health.

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