Objective: Pancreatic diseases pose significant diagnostic challenge as signs and symptoms often overlap. We investigated the potential of pancreatic juice neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin, macrophage inhibitory cytokine 1 (MIC-1), and carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA19-9) to aid in the diagnosis of patients with symptoms suggestive of pancreatic diseases.
Methods: A total of 105 chronic pancreatitis (CP), pancreatic cancer (PC), and nonpancreatic nonhealthy (patients with symptoms mimicking pancreatic disease but found to be free of any pancreatic disease) patients underwent endoscopic pancreatic juice collection after secretin stimulation. Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin and MIC-1 levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, whereas CA19-9 was measured by radioimmunoassay.
Results: Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin, MIC-1, and CA19-9 were significantly elevated in the pancreatic juice of patients with CP and patients with PC as compared with nonpancreatic nonhealthy controls (P ≤ 0.034). Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin seemed most promising in differentiating diseased versus nondiseased pancreata (areas under the curve, 0.88–0.91), whereas MIC-1 was found to be higher in patients with PC than in patients with CP (P = 0.043). Interestingly, MIC-1 levels in diabetic patients with PC were higher than in nondiabetic patients with PC (P = 0.030) and diabetic patients with CP (P = 0.087). Carbohydrate antigen 19-9 showed the least ability to distinguish patient groups (areas under the curve, 0.61–0.76).
Conclusions: Pancreatic juice neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin shows potential utility in establishing pancreatic etiology in the context of nonspecific symptoms, whereas MIC-1 may aid in differentiating PC from CP.