Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 63, Issue 4, pp 920–933 | Cite as

Identification of Small Proteins and Peptides in the Differentiation of Patients with Intraductal Mucinous Neoplasms of the Pancreas, Chronic Pancreatitis and Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma

  • Chiara Fania
  • Raffaele PezzilliEmail author
  • Gianvico Melzi d’Eril
  • Cecilia Gelfi
  • Alessandra Barassi
Original Article



There are a limited number of studies investigating the type of serum proteins capable of differentiating intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms from benign or malignant diseases of the pancreas.


To select proteins able to differentiate intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms from benign and malignant pancreatic disease using semiquantitative proteomics.


Serum samples were obtained from 74 patients (19 with type II intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms, 8 with type I/III intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms, 24 with chronic pancreatitis, 23 with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas) and 21 healthy subjects. Small proteins and peptides were assayed by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization for the detection of differentially abundant species possibly related to tumor onset. Serum pancreatic amylase, lipase, carcinoembryonic antigen and carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA 19-9) were also assayed.


Twenty-six of 84 peaks detected were dysregulated (7 more abundant and 19 less abundant in the type II intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms, p < 0.05). Of the differentially abundant peaks, 17 were commonly dysregulated (3 peaks more abundant and 13 less abundant in type II intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms, and one at  m/z = 9961 at variance), indicating a protein fingerprint shared by types I/III and type II intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas.


These results suggest that our approach can be used to differentiate type II intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms from type I/III neoplasms, and type II intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms from pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas.


Biomarkers Neoplasms Cystic Pancreatic cancer Pancreatitis Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization 



The authors wish to thank Enrica Torretta of the Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health, University of Milan, Milan, Italy, for the revision of statistical analyses.


This work was funded by the Italian Ministry of University and Scientific Research (Grant No. FIRB RBRNO78MCT to C. Gelfi).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10620_2018_4944_MOESM1_ESM.docx (34 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 33 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clinical Proteomics UnitIRCCS Policlinico San DonatoSan Donato MilaneseItaly
  2. 2.Pancreas Unit, Department of Digestive SystemSant’Orsola-Malpighi HospitalBolognaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Health Sciences, San Paolo HospitalUniversity of MilanMilanItaly
  4. 4.Department of Biomedical Sciences for HealthUniversity of MilanMilanItaly

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