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Pancreatology. 2016 Jul-Aug;16(4):584-92. doi: 10.1016/j.pan.2016.03.013. Epub 2016 Mar 30.

Is screening for pancreatic cancer in high-risk groups cost-effective? - Experience from a Danish national screening program.

Author information

Vejle Hospital, Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark; Department of Medical Gastroenterology, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark. Electronic address:
Juliane Marie Centret, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Centre for Health Economic Research (COHERE), Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.
Department of Medical Gastroenterology, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark.
Department of Surgery, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark.



Pancreatic cancer (PC) is the fourth leading cause of cancer death worldwide, symptoms are few and diffuse, and when the diagnosis has been made only 10-15% would benefit from resection. Surgery is the only potentially curable treatment for pancreatic cancer, and the prognosis seems to improve with early detection. A hereditary component has been identified in 1-10% of the PC cases. To comply with this, screening for PC in high-risk groups with a genetic disposition for PC has been recommended in research settings.


Between January 2006 and February 2014 31 patients with Hereditary pancreatitis or with a disposition of HP and 40 first-degree relatives of patients with Familial Pancreatic Cancer (FPC) were screened for development of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC) with yearly endoscopic ultrasound. The cost-effectiveness of screening in comparison with no-screening was assessed by the incremental cost-utility ratio (ICER).


By screening the FPC group we identified 2 patients with PDAC who were treated by total pancreatectomy. One patient is still alive, while the other died after 7 months due to cardiac surgery complications. Stratified analysis of patients with HP and FPC provided ICERs of 47,156 US$ vs. 35,493 US$ per life-year and 58,647 US$ vs. 47,867 US$ per QALY. Including only PDAC related death changed the ICER to 31,722 US$ per life-year and 42,128 US$ per QALY. The ICER for patients with FPC was estimated at 28,834 US$ per life-year and 38,785 US$ per QALY.


With a threshold value of 50,000 US$ per QALY this screening program appears to constitute a cost-effective intervention although screening of HP patients appears to be less cost-effective than FPC patients.


Cost-utility analysis (CUA); Familial pancreatic cancer (FPC); Hereditary pancreatitis (HP); Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICER); Quality-adjusted life-years (QALY); Screening

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