Genome Sequencing and Pancreatic Cancer

Establishing platform for whole genome sequencing of pancreatic cyst fluid for early detection and diagnosis of pancreatic cancer at the University of Hull

Pancreatic cancer (PC) is the 10th most common cancer and 6th leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the UK, with about 10% of cases arising from pancreatic cystic lessions. Current diagnostic methods cannot accurately predict which cysts will be associated with invasive carcinoma. Thus, they continue to contribute to a significant proportion of pancreatic surgery workload and surveillance. Pancreatic cyst fluid (PCF) has been explored for more accurate molecular/genetic detection but existing knowledge of the common mutations in the evolution of PC has yet to contribute to early diagnosis. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) has been utilised in various cancer types, PC inclusive, for detecting genetic changes associated with carcinogenesis, but has not yet been done using PCF due to technical limitations, including purity of isolated DNA. If overcome, WGS of PCF has the potential to unravel rarer and actionable events for improved diagnosis, treatment and survival. This project aims to isolate high purity genomic DNA from PCF samples including confirmed PC cases and perform WGS analysis of the PC samples in comparison to the reference genome, to identify disease-related genomic variants. This study is funded by the NIHR in collaboration with Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.