Pancreatic cancer often presents at an advanced stage that result in a very dismal five-year survival rates. Novel methods to detect tumors as early as possible are desperately needed. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends against routine screening for pancreatic cancer in asymptomatic adults using abdominal palpation, ultrasonography, or serologic markers. The evidence for diet-based prevention of pancreatic cancer is limited and conflicting. Recommendations about lifestyle changes, such as stopping the use of tobacco products, moderating alcohol intake, and eating a balanced diet with sufficient fruit and vegetables is generally made. However, screening for persons with hereditary predisposition to develop pancreatic cancer has not been included in this review. Biomarkers represent one tool for the early detection of small, surgically resectable cancers in both the general and high risk populations. Some of the currently utilized biomarkers including carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), CA 19-9, SPan-1, and DUPAN-2 unfortunately have yet to show the sensitivity and specificity needed to be used for screening asymptomatic patients in the general population for pancreatic cancer. Herein, the authors report some updated information from the 2010 ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium in detecting early stage pancreatic cancer.
Muhammad Wasif Saif, Scott Bussom
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