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  PRESENT AND FUTURE CHALLENGES OF GASTROINTESTINAL ENDOSCOPY 

Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2011 June;57(2):205-12

Copyright © 2011 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, time to screen high-risk individuals?

Iglesias-Garcia J. 1, 2, Lariño-Noia J. 1, 2, Dominguez-Muñoz J. E. 1, 2

1 Gastroenterology Department, University Hospital of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain; 2 Foundation for Research in Digestive Diseases (FIENAD), University Hospital of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain


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Pancreatic cancer (PC) is considered as one of the malignant tumors with poorest survival rate (less than 5% 5-year survival). Despite new developments in imaging techniques, surgery and oncologic treatments, survival rate remains unchanged. In order to improve the outcome of this disease, it would be of interest the development of a screening program trying to detect small asymptomatic tumors or precursor lesions at the time when the disease is still at a curable stage. Although screening in general population is not feasible nowadays, screening programs in high risk individuals may be of help in this setting. A specific population has been defined to be screened, those with a >10-fold increased risk for developing the disease (inherited PC syndromes due to inherited gene mutations and individuals with a strong family history of PC with at least 2 first-degree relatives affected, but without a known genetic defect). Regarding the methods for screening, endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) appears to be the most accurate, mainly based in their ability to detect those small pancreatic tumors and precursor lesions (like IPMN and PanIN lesions). In these patients screening should start at the age of 45, or 15 years earlier than the earliest occurrence of PC in the family, whichever is the earlier age. Explorations should be schedule every 1 to 3 years, depending on initial findings.

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