Diagnostic Yield From Screening Asymptomatic Individuals at High Risk for Pancreatic Cancer: A Meta-analysis of Cohort Studies

Juan E. Corral, Karl F. Mareth, Douglas L. Riegert-Johnson, Ananya Das, Michael B. Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: There have been few studies of abdominal imaging screening of individuals at high risk for pancreatic cancer (based on family history or genetic variants). We performed a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies to determine the diagnostic yield and outcomes of abdominal imaging screening for asymptomatic individuals at high risk. Methods: Through a systematic review of multiple electronic databases and conference proceedings through July 2017, we identified prospective cohort studies (>20 patients) of asymptomatic adults determined to be at high-risk of pancreatic cancer (lifetime risk >5%, including specific genetic-associated conditions) who were screened by endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and/or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to detect pancreatic lesions. Our primary outcome was identification of high-risk pancreatic lesions (high-grade pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia, high-grade dysplasia, or adenocarcinoma) at initial screening, and overall incidence during follow up. Summary estimates were reported as incidence rates per 100 patient-years. Results: We identified 19 studies comprising 7085 individuals at high risk for pancreatic cancer; of these, 1660 patients were evaluated by EUS and/or MRI. Fifty-nine high-risk lesions were identified (43 adenocarcinomas: 28 during the initial exam and 15 during follow-up surveillance) and 257 patients underwent pancreatic surgery. Based on our meta-analysis, the overall diagnostic yield screening for high-risk pancreatic lesions was 0.74 (95% CI, 0.33–1.14), with moderate heterogeneity among studies. The number needed to screen to identify 1 patient with a high-risk lesion was 135 (95% CI, 88–303). The diagnostic yield was similar for patients with different genetic features that increased risk, and whether patients were screened by EUS or MRI. Conclusions: Based on meta-analysis, 135 patients at high-risk for pancreatic cancer must be screened to identify 1 patient with a high-risk pancreatic lesion. Further studies are needed to determine whether screening reduces mortality and is cost effectiveness for individuals at high-risk of pancreatic cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-53
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • Early Detection
  • PanIN
  • Pancreas
  • Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome
  • Surveillance
  • Tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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