Pentraxins are a superfamily of acute phase reactants characterized by a pentameric structure. Pentraxin 3 (PTX3), is locally produced and released by a variety of cell types including macrophages, neutrophils, myeloid-derived mesangial cells, synovial cells, smooth muscle cells, alveolar epithelium, and glial cells. PTX3 is induced in response to either inflammatory cytokines interleukin-1 β (IL-1 β) and tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) or the selected associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). PTX3 is elevated in critically ill patients, with a gradient from systematic inflammatory response syndrome to septic shock, and in several other diseases, such as myocardial infarction, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, small vessel vasculitis and psoriasis.
Oncologists at Queen Mary’s University whether PTX 3 could be a reliable biomarker for detection of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). PDAC is characterized by an intense desmoplastic stroma, laid down by the pancreatic stellate cells (PSC). One of the defining features of PDAC is that there are very few cancer cells. Pancreatic cancer is surprisingly made up of mostly non-cancer cells, which have been co-opted by cancer to build a huge amount of scar tissue or stroma around the cancer, providing a strong defense for the cancer cells. The researchers found that PTX3 is a putative stromally-derived biomarker for PDAC which warrants further testing in prospective, larger, multi-center cohorts and within clinical trials targeting stroma.
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