Improved Outcomes With Early Screening of Patients at Risk for Pancreatic Cancer

In a related commentary in the same issue, Mark S. Talamonti, MD, of the NorthShore University HealthSystem, wrote, "With an aging population, this most formidable of human cancers will only increase in incidence and frequency. There is a clear and unequivocal need for affordable screening strategies based on reliable biomarkers and efficient imaging modalities."

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based screening program for individuals at high risk of pancreatic cancer identified pancreatic lesions in 16 of 40 (40%) of patients, of whom 5 underwent surgery, according to a report published online by JAMA Surgery.

Pancreatic cancer is a leading cause of cancer death and can be considered a global lethal disease because incidence and mortality rates are nearly identical. Although treatment has improved, the surgery rate in patients with ductal adenocarcinoma is around 30% and the 5-year survival rate is less than 20%. In about 10% of all patients with pancreatic cancer, it is possible to find a family history, according to the study background.

Marco Del Chiaro, MD, PhD, of the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, and coauthors analyzed short-term results from an MRI-based screening program for patients with a genetic risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

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