Global incidence and mortality of pancreatic diseases: a systematic review, meta-analysis, and meta-regression of population-based cohort studies

Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2016 Sep;1(1):45-55. doi: 10.1016/S2468-1253(16)30004-8. Epub 2016 Jun 28.


Background: There is a lack of robust estimates of the worldwide incidence and mortality of acute pancreatitis, chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic cysts, and pancreatic cancer in the general population. Our aim was to quantitate and compare the incidence and mortality of major pancreatic diseases in high-quality population-based cohort studies.

Methods: Three databases (PubMed, Embase, and Scopus) were searched independently by two reviewers. Data from eligible studies were subject to meta-analysis to obtain global estimates. A number of prespecified subgroup analyses and meta-regression analyses were also done.

Findings: 48 population-based cohort studies (35 on pancreatic cancer, ten on acute pancreatitis, three on chronic pancreatitis, and none on pancreatic cysts) were identified, with a total study population of 296 million individuals and 119 000 patients with pancreatic diseases. Global estimates of incidence and mortality were 8·14 cases (95% CI 6·63-9·98) per 100 000 person-years and 6·92 deaths (95% CI 3·72-12·89) per 100 000 person-years for pancreatic cancer, 33·74 cases (95% CI 23·33-48·81) per 100 000 person-years and 1·60 deaths (95% CI 0·85-1·58) per 100 000 person-years for acute pancreatitis, and 9·62 cases (95% CI 7·86-11·78) per 100 000 person-years and 0·09 deaths (95% CI 0·02-0·47) per 100 000 person-years for chronic pancreatitis. Subgroup analysis based on the WHO regions showed that the incidences of both pancreatic cancer and acute pancreatitis, and mortality from pancreatic cancer, were significantly higher in the American region than in the European and Western Pacific regions, while the incidence of chronic pancreatitis was significantly higher in the European region than in the American region. Mortality from pancreatic cancer was lowest in the Southeast Asian region. The incidence of chronic pancreatitis was twice as high in men as in women, although there was no difference between sexes for pancreatic cancer or acute pancreatitis.

Interpretation: Globally, acute pancreatitis is the most common pancreatic disease whilst pancreatic cancer is the most lethal. However, their burden is not equal across the globe. The epidemiological estimates reported in this study could inform future high-quality studies.

Funding: None.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Global Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Pancreatic Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Pancreatic Diseases / mortality
  • Regression Analysis