Chronic Pancreatitis Is a Risk Factor for Pancreatic Cancer, and Incidence Increases With Duration of Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Clin Transl Gastroenterol. 2022 Mar 28;13(3):e00463. doi: 10.14309/ctg.0000000000000463.


Introduction: Observational studies have suggested an increased risk of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) in patients with acute and chronic pancreatitis. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the magnitude of this association and summarize the published epidemiological evidence.

Methods: We searched electronic databases (MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Science, Cochrane, and Scopus) and reference lists until January 18, 2021. Studies reporting quantitative association between pancreatitis and PDAC were included and assessed for eligibility, data abstraction, and risk of bias. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) were pooled using the random-effects model.

Results: Twenty-five cohort and case-control studies met inclusion criteria. Meta-analysis of 12 chronic pancreatitis (CP) studies demonstrated an increased risk of PDAC in patients with CP (SIR: 22.61, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 14.42-35.44). This elevated risk persisted in subgroup analysis of studies that excluded patients diagnosed with PDAC within 2 years of CP diagnosis (SIR: 21.77, 95% CI: 14.43-32.720). The risk was higher in hereditary pancreatitis (SIR: 63.36, 95% CI: 45.39-88.46). The cumulative incidence rates of PDAC in CP increased with follow-up duration. Limited evidence in acute pancreatitis indicates higher PDAC risk in the subset of patients eventually diagnosed with CP. PDAC seems to be uncommon in patients with autoimmune pancreatitis, with 8 reported cases in 358 patients with autoimmune pancreatitis across 4 studies.

Discussion: There is an increased risk of PDAC in patients with CP, and incidence rates increase with CP disease duration. Our results indicate that PDAC surveillance may be considered in individuals with long-standing CP.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / etiology
  • Pancreatitis, Chronic* / complications
  • Pancreatitis, Chronic* / diagnosis
  • Pancreatitis, Chronic* / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors