Plasma trypsin in chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic adenocarcinoma

T. E. Adrian, H. S. Besterman, C. N. Mallinson, A. Pera, M. R. Redshaw, T. P. Wood, S. R. Bloom

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52 Citations (Scopus)


We have used a simple and precise radioimmunoassay to measure trypsin in human plasma. Fasting plasma trypsin concentrations were extremely low in patients with chronic pancreatitis with steatorrhoea (5 ± 2 ng/ml) when compared to healthy controls (86 ± 7 ng/ml, p < 0.001). In patients with chronic pancreatitis but no steatorrhoea basal plasma trypsin levels were similar to those of the normal controls (99 ± 25 ng/ml). A small but significant postprandial rise in plasma trypsin concentrations was observed in normal subjects (mean increment 15 ± 4%, p < 0.005, paired t test) but was absent in patients with chronic pancreatitis with steatorrhoea. In contrast to exocrine deficient chronic pancreatitis, other malabsorptive conditions associated with steatorrhoea (active coeliac disease and acute tropical sprue) demonstrated mean fasting trypsin concentrations similar to controls. Patients with adenocarcinoma of the pancreas had basal trypsin concentrations similar to healthy subjects as did patients with adenocarcinoma of the stomach, colon, rectum, bronchus, and breast. In some cases measurement of plasma trypsin may be of help in the differential diagnosis of steatorrhoea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-212
Number of pages8
JournalClinica Chimica Acta
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 1979
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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