Editor’s Pick: Screening for Pancreatic Cancer: Current Status and Future Directions

This must-read paper from Kundrada et al. details the potential role of molecular and radiogenomic markers in the early detection of pancreatic cancer. It is thought that by 2030 pancreatic cancer will be the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths, but the fact that it can take more than a decade from the initiation of the disease to metastatic disease provides a critical window for early detection. Currently there is no consensus on the most appropriate screening protocol for early pancreatic cancer; however, there has been much progress made in available biochemical and molecular markers, which could potentially reduce pancreatic cancer-specific mortality. Samantha Warne

Akshjot Puri,1 John C. Chang,2 *Madappa Kundranda3

1. College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Phoenix, Arizona, USA
2. Department of Radiology, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, Gilbert, Arizona, USA
3. Division of Oncology, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, Gilbert, Arizona, USA
*Correspondence to madappa.kundranda@bannerhealth.com

Disclosure: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest.
Received: 10.07.17 Accepted: 25.09.17
Citation: EMJ. 2017;2[4]:59-67.

Abstract

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is a lethal disease for a multitude of reasons, including difficulty of early detection, early metastatic spread, and absence of more effective therapies. Even with the advent of newer systemic therapies, the 1-year survival for metastatic disease ranges from 17–23% and 5-year survival is <5%. This necessitates an urgent need for the development of more effective modalities for early detection, particularly due to the long latent period between the genomic cellular changes and the development of metastatic disease. Currently available biochemical and molecular markers have significant potential; however, they require further clinical validation. Endoscopic ultrasound is one of the most sensitive modalities used to both screen and sample lesions, but is limited to use in high-risk patients due to its invasive nature and associated risks. Although clinically meaningful progress has been made in screening the high-risk cohorts in terms of detection of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms, and mucinous cystic neoplasms, leading to early diagnosis and treatment, nonselective population-based screening is not yet available for widespread use. Currently there is no consensus on the most appropriate screening protocol for early pancreatic cancer detection. In this review, we focus on understanding the potential role of molecular and radiogenomic markers in the early detection of pancreatic cancer.

This article is made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 4.0 License.

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