Background & aims: The risk of pancreatic cancer is increased in patients with a strong family history of pancreatic cancer or a predisposing germline mutation. Screening can detect curable, noninvasive pancreatic neoplasms, but the optimal imaging approach is not known. We determined the baseline prevalence and characteristics of pancreatic abnormalities using 3 imaging tests to screen asymptomatic, high-risk individuals (HRIs).
Methods: We screened 225 asymptomatic adult HRIs at 5 academic US medical centers once, using computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS). We compared results in a blinded, independent fashion.
Results: Ninety-two of 216 HRIs (42%) were found to have at least 1 pancreatic mass (84 cystic, 3 solid) or a dilated pancreatic duct (n = 5) by any of the imaging modalities. Fifty-one of the 84 HRIs with a cyst (60.7%) had multiple lesions, typically small (mean, 0.55 cm; range, 2-39 mm), in multiple locations. The prevalence of pancreatic lesions increased with age; they were detected in 14% of subjects younger than 50 years old, 34% of subjects 50-59 years old, and 53% of subjects 60-69 years old (P < .0001). CT, MRI, and EUS detected a pancreatic abnormality in 11%, 33.3%, and 42.6% of the HRIs, respectively. Among these abnormalities, proven or suspected neoplasms were identified in 85 HRIs (82 intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms and 3 pancreatic endocrine tumors). Three of 5 HRIs who underwent pancreatic resection had high-grade dysplasia in less than 3 cm intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms and in multiple intraepithelial neoplasias.
Conclusions: Screening of asymptomatic HRIs frequently detects small pancreatic cysts, including curable, noninvasive high-grade neoplasms. EUS and MRI detect pancreatic lesions better than CT.
Copyright © 2012 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.