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Clin Cancer Res. 2010 Oct 15;16(20):5028-37. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-3209. Epub 2010 Sep 28.

Pancreatic cancer screening in a prospective cohort of high-risk patients: a comprehensive strategy of imaging and genetics.

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Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases, Department of Medicine, Muzzi Mirza Pancreatic Cancer Prevention, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York 10032-3784, USA.



Pancreatic cancer is a virtually uniformly fatal disease. We aimed to determine if screening to identify curable neoplasms is effective when offered to patients at high risk.


Patients at high risk of pancreatic cancer were prospectively enrolled into a screening program. Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and genetic testing were offered by a multidisciplinary team according to each patient's risk.


Fifty-one patients in 43 families were enrolled, with mean age of 52 years, 35% of whom were male. Of these patients, 31 underwent EUS and 33 MRI. EUS revealed two patients with pancreatic cancer (one resectable, one metastatic), five with intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMN), seven with cysts, and six with parenchymal changes. Five had pancreatic surgery (one total pancreatectomy for pancreatic cancer, three distal and one central pancreatectomy for pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia 2 and IPMN). A total of 24 (47%) had genetic testing (19 for BRCA1/2 mutations, 4 for CDKN2A, 1 for MLH1/MSH2) and 7 were positive for BRCA1/2 mutations. Four extrapancreatic neoplasms were found: two ovarian cancers on prophylactic total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, one carcinoid, and one papillary thyroid carcinoma. Overall, 6 (12%) of the 51 patients had neoplastic lesions in the pancreas and 9 (18%) had neoplasms in any location. All were on the initial round of screening. All patients remain alive and without complications of screening.


Pancreatic cancer screening for high-risk patients with a comprehensive strategy of imaging and genetics is effective and identifies curable neoplasms that can be resected. Ongoing study will better define who will benefit from screening and what screening strategy will be the most effective.

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