Elevated levels of opioid growth factor in the plasma of patients with pancreatic cancer

Jill P. Smith, Robert L. Conter, Laurence M. Demers, Patricia J. McLaughlin, Ian S. Zagon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Opioid growth factor (OGF, [Met5]-enkephalin) is an endogenous peptide that regulates the growth of human pancreatic cancer. To evaluate whether human subjects with pancreatic cancer have alterations in plasma levels of OGF, fasting blood samples were obtained from 15 patients with histologically confirmed pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Forty-five subjects with other malignancies, 20 patients with acute pancreatitis, and 30 aged-matched patients without cancer served as control populations. Individuals with pancreatic cancer had OGF values, as determined by radioimmunoassay, that were up to 7.3-fold greater than control subjects. No differences were found between OGF values obtained from patients with other malignancies, acute pancreatitis, or subjects without cancer. The sensitivity and specificity of OGF for pancreatic cancer were greater than either CA 19-9 or CEA. These data indicate that pancreatic cancer is associated with a marked increase in plasma OGF levels and suggest that this peptide may serve as a useful diagnostic tool in the screening for this disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-164
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Hepatology
  • Endocrinology


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