Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal diseases which lack an early diagnostic marker. We investigated whether serum ferritin (SF) reflects risk for pancreatic cancer and potential genes that may contribute ferritin and pancreatic cancer risks. We performed a meta-analysis of relevant studies on SF and pancreatic cancer risk by searching articles in PUBMED and EMBASE published up to 1 March 2020. We also collected serum samples from Taipei Medical University Joint Biobank and compared SF levels in 34 healthy controls and 34 pancreatic cancer patients. An Oncomine database was applied as a platform to explore a series of genes that exhibited strong associations between ferritin and pancreatic cancer. Herein, we show that high levels of SF can indicate risk of pancreatic cancer, suggesting SF as the new tumor marker that may be used to help pancreatic cancer diagnosis. We also found that expressions of iron homeostasis genes (MYC, FXN) and ferroptosis genes (ALOX15, CBS, FDFT1, LPCAT3, RPL8, TP53, TTC35) are significantly altered with pancreatic tumor grades, which may contribute to differential expression of ferritin related to pancreatic cancer prognosis.
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