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Acute pancreatitis as an early marker of pancreatic cancer and cancer stage, treatment, and prognosis

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BACKGROUND: We aimed to examine the association between acute pancreatitis, a potential early symptom of pancreatic cancer, and pancreatic cancer stage, treatment, and prognosis.

METHODS: We conducted a cohort study of patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer during 2004-2017 using population-based registry data from Denmark and Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) data linked with Medicare claims from the United States (US), which include individuals aged 65 + . We ascertained information on acute pancreatitis diagnoses up to 90 days before pancreatic cancer and followed them for a maximum of five years. We assessed overall survival difference at 30 days, six months, and one, three and five years, comparing patients with and without coexistence of acute pancreatitis. Secondary outcomes were cancer stage and treatment.

RESULTS: We identified 12,522 Danish and 37,552 US patients with pancreatic cancer (median age 71 and 78 years, respectively). In the Danish cohort, 1.4 % had acute pancreatitis before pancreatic cancer vs. 5.9 % in the US cohort. After five years of follow-up, the survival difference was 6.1 % (95 % CI: [-0.4 %, 12.6 %]) in Danish and 1.7 % (95 % CI: [0.8 %, 2.7 %]) in US patients, comparing patients with and without acute pancreatitis. Patients with acute pancreatitis had lower prevalence of metastatic tumors at diagnosis (Denmark: 42.5 % vs. 48.7 %; US: 34.4 % vs. 45.9 %) and higher resection frequencies (Denmark: 20.1 % vs. 12.1 %; US: 16.1 % vs.11.3 %) than patients without acute pancreatitis.

CONCLUSIONS: Pancreatic cancer patients with acute pancreatitis diagnosed up to 90 days before cancer diagnosis had earlier stage at diagnosis and better survival than patients without acute pancreatitis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101647
JournalCancer epidemiology
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

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