New diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis: risk of missing an underlying pancreatic cancer

Satish Munigala, Fasiha Kanwal, Hong Xian, Banke Agarwal
American Journal of Gastroenterology 2014, 109 (11): 1824-30

OBJECTIVES: Patients with pancreatic cancer (PaCa) sometimes present with symptoms suggestive of chronic pancreatitis (CP). We evaluated the prevalence of undiagnosed PaCa in patients with new CP diagnosis.

METHODS: This is a retrospective study with data from Veterans Health Administration national medical care data sets from fiscal year 1998-2007. A 3-year washout period was used to identify patients with preexisting PaCa and preexisting CP diagnosis.

RESULTS: Among 471,992 veterans included, 917 (0.19%) had PaCa, 2,557 (0.54%) had a preexisting CP, and 2,175 (0.46%) had a new diagnosis of CP. PaCa was diagnosed ≤2 years following CP diagnosis in 44 patients, comprising 4.80% of patients with PaCa. Following a new diagnosis of CP, the risk of PaCa diagnosis was most marked in the first year (incidence 18.04 per 1,000 person-years (py), relative risk (RR) 63.43) and became similar to risk in patients with preexisting CP in the third year. The first-year incidence of PaCa was 7.33/1,000 py in the fifth decade and reached 36.91/1,000 py after seventh decade of life. Time to PaCa diagnosis following a CP diagnosis was ≤60 days in 14 patients, 3-12 months in 25 patients, and 13-24 months in 5 patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Approximately 5% of patients with PaCa are initially misdiagnosed as CP, and in two-thirds of these patients the cancer diagnosis is delayed by >2 months. PaCa should reliably be excluded before making a new CP diagnosis in patients who are >40 years old, especially in those without heavy smoking or alcohol history.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.


Sort by: Most RecentHighest Rated

peter stevens



Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"