Plasma suPAR may help to distinguish between chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer

Anu Aronen, Janne Aittoniemi, Reetta Huttunen, Anssi Nikkola, Irina Rinta-Kiikka, Jussi Nikkola, Olli Limnell, Isto Nordback, Juhani Sand, Johanna Laukkarinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objectives: SuPAR (soluble urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor) is a biomarker reflecting the inflammatory state of the human body. Earlier studies suggest that urinary suPAR/creatinine ratio levels are elevated in chronic pancreatitis (CP), and that plasma suPAR (P-suPAR) level is elevated in pancreatic cancer (PC). Our aim was to study the levels of P-suPAR in CP in a long-term prospective follow-up setting to explore the possibility of distinguishing between PC and CP. Materials and methods: Two patient groups were compared. The first group included 83 patients who were prospectively followed up after their first acute alcohol-induced pancreatitis (AAP) for median 7.0 (range 0.3–9.8) years. Twelve patients in this group developed CP during follow-up, and two patients were further excluded from the CP cohort. The second group consisted of 25 patients operated on for suspicion of pancreatic malignancy and final pathological diagnosis of PC. P-suPAR levels were measured and compared within and between these groups. Results: P-suPAR levels remained low during follow-up despite the development of CP. P-suPAR was significantly higher in PC patients [median 3.7 (IQR 3.1–4.4) ng/mL] than in CP patients [2.6 (1.8–3.6) ng/mL]; p =.014. A cutoff value of 2.8 ng/mL resulted from a ROC curve with area under curve (AUC) of 0.79 (95% CI 0.61–0.97), p =.009 in differentiation between PC and CP with a sensitivity and a specificity of 88% and 70% respectively. Conclusion: P-suPAR is higher in patients with PC than in patients with CP, and it could thus be used in differentiating between PC and CP.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Nov 2020
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Biomarkers
  • cancer
  • chronic
  • markers
  • pancreatic cancer
  • pancreatitis
  • plasminogen activator receptor
  • tumour
  • urokinase type

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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