A 31-year-old male asked:
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why is elevated amylase linked to lung cancer but elevated lipase is not. are they almost the same type of test?

2 doctor answers
Dr. Amy Deeken
20 years experience Pathology
They produce it...: Amylase and lipase are two different enzymes produced by the pancreas normally. (amylase is also produced by the salivary glands). Amylase helps break down carbs, while lipase breaks down fats for digestion. Rare lung tumors produce amylase, but not lipase because glands in the lung are more similar to salivary glands. In fact some types of tumors seen in the salivary gland also occur in lung.
Answered on Mar 20, 2014
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Dr. Ed Friedlander
44 years experience Pathology
That's bunk: I don't know where you got the idea that elevated amylase is an indicator of lung cancer, but it's not true. There internet -- including some sites with names that suggest they should be credible -- is full of disinformation about lab testing. One percent of folks have a way-high amylase because of who they are. It means nothing. Stop fretting about this.
Answered on Mar 23, 2014

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