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Screening for Pancreatic CancerUS Preventive Services Task Force Reaffirmation Recommendation Statement

Educational Objective
To review the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations regarding screening for pancreatic cancer.
1 Credit CME

Importance  Pancreatic cancer is an uncommon cancer with an age-adjusted annual incidence of 12.9 cases per 100 000 person-years. However, the death rate is 11.0 deaths per 100 000 person-years because the prognosis of pancreatic cancer is poor. Although its incidence is low, pancreatic cancer is the third most common cause of cancer death in the United States. Because of the increasing incidence of pancreatic cancer, along with improvements in early detection and treatment of other types of cancer, it is estimated that pancreatic cancer may soon become the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States.

Objective  To update the 2004 US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation on screening for pancreatic cancer.

Evidence Review  The USPSTF reviewed the evidence on the benefits and harms of screening for pancreatic cancer, the diagnostic accuracy of screening tests for pancreatic cancer, and the benefits and harms of treatment of screen-detected or asymptomatic pancreatic cancer.

Findings  The USPSTF found no evidence that screening for pancreatic cancer or treatment of screen-detected pancreatic cancer improves disease-specific morbidity or mortality, or all-cause mortality. The USPSTF found adequate evidence that the magnitude of the benefits of screening for pancreatic cancer in asymptomatic adults can be bounded as no greater than small. The USPSTF found adequate evidence that the magnitude of the harms of screening for pancreatic cancer and treatment of screen-detected pancreatic cancer can be bounded as at least moderate. The USPSTF reaffirms its previous conclusion that the potential benefits of screening for pancreatic cancer in asymptomatic adults do not outweigh the potential harms.

Conclusions and Recommendation  The USPSTF recommends against screening for pancreatic cancer in asymptomatic adults. (D recommendation)

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Douglas K. Owens, MD, MS, Stanford University, 616 Serra St, Encina Hall, Room C336, Stanford, CA 94305-6019 (chair@uspstf.net).

Correction: This article was corrected on October 11, 2019, for incorrect information in an author affiliation.

Accepted for Publication: June 26, 2019.

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) members: Douglas K. Owens, MD, MS; Karina W. Davidson, PhD, MASc; Alex H. Krist, MD, MPH; Michael J. Barry, MD; Michael Cabana, MD, MA, MPH; Aaron B. Caughey, MD, PhD; Susan J. Curry, PhD; Chyke A. Doubeni, MD, MPH; John W. Epling Jr, MD, MSEd; Martha Kubik, PhD, RN; C. Seth Landefeld, MD; Carol M. Mangione, MD, MSPH; Lori Pbert, PhD; Michael Silverstein, MD, MPH; Melissa A. Simon, MD, MPH; Chien-Wen Tseng, MD, MPH, MSEE; John B. Wong, MD.

Affiliations of The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) members: Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California (Owens); Stanford University, Stanford, California (Owens); Feinstein Institute for Medical Research at Northwell Health, Manhasset, New York (Davidson); Fairfax Family Practice Residency, Fairfax, Virginia (Krist); Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond (Krist); Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts (Barry); University of California, San Francisco (Cabana); Oregon Health & Science University, Portland (Caughey); University of Iowa, Iowa City (Curry); Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota (Doubeni); Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Roanoke (Epling Jr); Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Kubik); University of Alabama at Birmingham (Landefeld); University of California, Los Angeles (Mangione); University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester (Pbert); Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts (Silverstein); Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois (Simon); University of Hawaii, Honolulu (Tseng); Pacific Health Research and Education Institute, Honolulu, Hawaii (Tseng); Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts (Wong).

Author Contributions: Dr Owens had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. The USPSTF members contributed equally to the recommendation statement.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: All authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest. Authors followed the policy regarding conflicts of interest described at https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Name/conflict-of-interest-disclosures. All members of the USPSTF receive travel reimbursement and an honorarium for participating in USPSTF meetings.

Funding/Support: The USPSTF is an independent, voluntary body. The US Congress mandates that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) support the operations of the USPSTF.

Role of the Funder/Sponsor: AHRQ staff assisted in the following: development and review of the research plan, commission of the systematic evidence review from an Evidence-based Practice Center, coordination of expert review and public comment of the draft evidence report and draft recommendation statement, and the writing and preparation of the final recommendation statement and its submission for publication. AHRQ staff had no role in the approval of the final recommendation statement or the decision to submit for publication.

Disclaimer: Recommendations made by the USPSTF are independent of the US government. They should not be construed as an official position of AHRQ or the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Additional Contributions: We thank Howard Tracer, MD (AHRQ), who contributed to the writing of the manuscript, and Lisa Nicolella, MA (AHRQ), who assisted with coordination and editing.

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