KGMU Doctors Discover New Gallbladder Cancer Detection Method

Gallbladder cancer is a rare but deadly disease that affects the small organ that stores bile. It is often diagnosed at a late stage, when the chances of survival are low. Early detection is crucial for improving the outcomes of patients with this condition.

However, the current method to diagnose gallbladder cancer has some limitations. It uses a substance called carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA 19-9), which is also associated with pancreatic cancer. This can lead to misdiagnosis due to similarities between the two types of cancer.

To address this issue, doctors at the King George’s Medical University (KGMU) in Lucknow have developed a new method that combines CA 19-9 with another marker, carbohydrate antigen 242 (CA242). The combination of these two markers resulted in almost 100 per cent accuracy in identifying gallbladder cancer, surpassing 82 per cent 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 in December 2024 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 study involved 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 tumour size and CA242 levels.

Prof Preeti Agrawal, a faculty member in the pathology department of KGMU and the lead researcher in the study, said that if successful, the dual-marker approach could revolutionize early detection, reduce misdiagnosis, and lead to better outcomes for patients.

She also highlighted the need for additional validation and larger studies before incorporating this approach into routine clinical practice. She said that gallbladder cancer has a high mortality rate of around 70 per cent, and is more prevalent in northern India, especially among women.

The new method developed by KGMU doctors offers hope for patients with this rare and aggressive form of cancer. It could also pave the way for more research and innovation in the field of oncology.

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