The 80% mortality rate of pancreatic-cancer (PC) makes early diagnosis a challenge. Oral fluids (OF) may be considered the ultimate body fluid for non-invasive examinations. We have developed techniques to improve visualization of minor OF proteins thereby overcoming major barriers to using OF as a diagnostic fluid. The aim of this study was to establish a short discriminative panel of OF biomarkers for the detection of PC. Unstimulated OF were collected from PC patients and controls (n = 30). High-abundance-proteins were depleted and the remaining proteins were analyzed by two-dimensional-gel-electrophoresis and quantitative dimethylation-liquid-chromatography-tandem mass-spectrometry. Label-free quantitative-mass-spectrometry analysis (qMS) was performed on 20 individual samples (n = 20). More than 100 biomarker candidates were identified in OF samples, and 21 had a highly differential expression profile. qMS analysis yielded a ROC-plot AUC value of 0.91 with 90.0% sensitivity and specificity for a combination of five biomarker candidates. We found a combination of five biomarkers for PC. Most of these proteins are known to be related to PC or other gastric cancers, but have never been detected in OF. This study demonstrates the importance of novel OF depletion methodologies for increased protein visibility and highlights the clinical applicability of OF as a diagnostic fluid.
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