High-risk population in sporadic pancreatic adenocarcinoma: guidelines for screening

J Surg Res. 2015 Mar;194(1):212-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2014.06.046. Epub 2014 Oct 13.


Background: Pancreatic cancer (PC) is one of the most deadly forms of cancer in the United States, with an annual incidence to death ratio of 0.92 because of the late stage at diagnosis. Identification of high-risk individuals (HRIs) that would be ideal for screening is needed to identify precursor lesions and small early stage disease. Those with a genetic predisposition have largely been identified, but little is known about those at high-risk for sporadic PC. This study asserts that a high-risk population does exist in sporadic pancreatic adenocarcinoma and proposes simple guidelines for screening.

Methods: A systematic review was conducted of the literature regarding identification of and screening in high-risk groups.

Results: Those with the highest genetic risk of developing PC include those with hereditary pancreatitis (87 times more likely at age 55), Peutz-Jehgers syndrome (132 times more likely at age 50), p16-Leiden mutations (48 times more likely), and familial pancreatic cancer (FPC) kindreds (32 times more likely). Those with the highest risk of developing sporadic PC include those with new-onset diabetes older than 50 y and smoking history.

Conclusions: Given that sporadic PC is the single largest patient population effected with this devastating disease, some form of screening should be initiated. Currently, the medical community does nothing to attempt early detection of PC. However, sufficient evidence now exists to begin a screening protocol in a high-risk cohort, which would be patients with new-onset diabetes older than 50 y and a smoking history.

Keywords: Genetic predisposition; Pancreatic cancer; Screening; Sporadic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnosis*
  • Adenocarcinoma / etiology
  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Early Detection of Cancer*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Risk
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Weight Loss