The yield of first-time endoscopic ultrasonography in screening individuals at a high risk of developing pancreatic cancer

Am J Gastroenterol. 2009 Sep;104(9):2175-81. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2009.276. Epub 2009 Jun 2.


Objectives: Approximately 10-15% of all pancreatic cancers (PCs) may be hereditary in origin. We investigated the use of endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS) for the screening of individuals at high risk for developing PC. In this paper the results of first-time screening with EUS are presented.

Methods: Those eligible for screening in this study were first-degree family members of affected individuals from familial pancreatic cancer (FPC) families, mutation carriers of PC-prone hereditary syndromes, individuals with Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, and mutation carriers of other PC-prone hereditary syndromes with clustering (> or =2 cases per family) of PC. All individuals were asymptomatic and had not undergone EUS before.

Results: Forty-four individuals (M/F 18/26), aged 32-75 years underwent screening with EUS. Thirteen were from families with familial atypical multiple-mole melanoma (FAMMM), 21 with FPC, 3 individuals were diagnosed with hereditary pancreatitis, 2 were Peutz-Jeghers patients, 3 were BRCA1 and 2 were BRCA2 mutation carriers with familial clustering of PC, and 1 individual had a p53 mutation. Three (6.8%) patients had an asymptomatic mass lesion (12, 27, and 50 mm) in the body (n=2) or tail of the pancreas. All lesions were completely resected. Pathology showed moderately differentiated adenocarcinomas with N1 disease in the two patients with the largest lesions. EUS showed branch-type intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasia (IPMN) in seven individuals.

Conclusions: Screening of individuals at a high risk for PC with EUS is feasible and safe. The incidence of clinically relevant findings at first screening is high with asymptomatic cancer in 7% and premalignant IPMN-like lesions in 16% in our series. Whether screening improves survival remains to be determined, as does the optimal screening interval with EUS.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Endosonography*
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics*