Asymptomatic High-Risk Adults Often Have Pancreatic Lesions

Monday, April 9, 2012 (Last Updated: 04/10/2012)

MONDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- Screening of asymptomatic high-risk individuals (HRIs) for pancreatic cancer often detects pancreatic lesions, many of which are proven or suspected neoplasms, according to a study published in the April issue of Gastroenterology.

Marcia Irene Canto, M.D., from the John Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, and colleagues used three imaging tests to screen 225 asymptomatic adults at high risk for pancreatic cancer. Results were compared for computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS).

The researchers found that 42 percent of the HRIs (92 individuals) had at least one pancreatic mass or a dilated pancreatic duct on any of the screening modalities, and 60.7 percent of those with a cyst had multiple lesions, which were typically small and in multiple locations. Lesion prevalence increased with age; lesions were found in 14, 34, and 53 percent, respectively, of participants aged younger than 50 years, 50 to 59 years, and 60 to 69 years. CT detected pancreatic abnormalities in 11 percent of the HRIs, MRI in 33.3 percent, and EUS in 42.6 percent. Among the HRIs with abnormalities, 85 had proven or suspected neoplasms. High-grade dysplasia was seen in three of five HRIs who underwent pancreatic resection.

"Screening of asymptomatic HRIs frequently detects small pancreatic cysts, including curable, noninvasive high-grade neoplasms," the authors write. "EUS and MRI detect pancreatic lesions better than CT."

The study was partially funded by ChiRhoClin, manufacturer of the human synthetic secretin used in the study.

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Specialties Diabetes & Endocrinology
Hematology & Oncology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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