Benefit of Surveillance for Pancreatic Cancer in High-Risk Individuals: Outcome of Long-Term Prospective Follow-Up Studies From Three European Expert Centers

J Clin Oncol. 2016 Jun 10;34(17):2010-9. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2015.64.0730. Epub 2016 Apr 25.


Purpose: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has a poor prognosis. Hereditary factors play a role in the development of PDAC in 3% to 5% of all patients. Surveillance of high-risk groups, may facilitate detection of PDAC at an early stage. The aim of this study was to assess whether surveillance aids detection of early-stage PDAC or precursor lesions (PRLs) and improves the prognosis.

Patients and methods: Screening outcomes were collected from three European centers that conduct prospective screening in high-risk groups including families with clustering of PDAC (familial pancreatic cancer [FPC]) or families with a gene defect that predisposes to PDAC. The surveillance program consisted of annual magnetic resonance imaging, magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography, and/or endoscopic ultrasound.

Results: Four hundred eleven asymptomatic individuals participated in the surveillance programs, including 178 CDKN2A mutation carriers, 214 individuals with FPC, and 19 BRCA1/2 or PALB2 mutation carriers. PDAC was detected in 13 (7.3%) of 178 CDKN2A mutation carriers. The resection rate was 75%, and the 5-year survival rate was 24%. Two CDKN2A mutation carriers (1%) underwent surgical resection for low-risk PRL. Two individuals (0.9%) in the FPC cohort had a pancreatic tumor, including one advanced PDAC and one early grade 2 neuroendocrine tumor. Thirteen individuals with FPC (6.1%) underwent surgical resection for a suspected PRL, but only four (1.9%) had high-risk lesions (ie, high-grade intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms or grade 3 pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasms). One BRCA2 mutation carrier was found to have PDAC, and another BRCA2 mutation carrier and a PALB2 mutation carrier underwent surgery and were found to have low-risk PRL. No serious complications occurred as consequence of the program.

Conclusion: Surveillance of CDNK2A mutation carriers is relatively successful, detecting most PDACs at a resectable stage. The benefit of surveillance in families with FPC is less evident.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / pathology
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / genetics
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors


  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16
  • P16 protein, human