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Study examines screening for pancreatic cancer in high-risk populations
Date:7/25/2011

OAK BROOK, Ill. July 25, 2011 Researchers from New England report in a new study that using a tumor marker, serum CA 19-9, combined with an endoscopic ultrasound if the tumor marker is elevated, is more likely to detect stage 1 pancreatic cancer in a high-risk population than by using the standard means of detection. The study appears in the July issue of GIE: Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE).

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Advanced disease at diagnosis correlates directly with worse overall survival. Symptoms of abdominal pain, jaundice, and/or weight loss often do not appear until the tumor is locally advanced or metastatic, at which point effective treatment options are very limited. By contrast, detection and resection of pancreatic cancer, when it is confined to the pancreas (stage 1 disease), improves overall survival. An effective screening protocol is urgently needed to detect earlier stage tumors. Imaging methods that have been used for pancreatic cancer screening include endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), CT, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and magnetic resonance imaging/MRCP.

There has been limited success in screening younger populations using the tumor marker CA19-9, so more recent pancreatic cancer screening protocols have focused on high-risk populations. It is estimated that 10 percent of patients in whom pancreatic cancer develops have at least one first-degree relative with the disease. Multiple cohort and case-control studies have demonstrated that a family history of a first-degree relative with pancreatic cancer significantly increases a patient's risk of the development of pancreatic cancer, approximately two to five-fold. The risk of the development of pancreatic cancer increases significantly as the number of affected family members increases.
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Contact: Anne Brownsey
abrownsey@asge.org
630-570-5635
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Source:Eurekalert

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