USPSTF: Asymptomatic adults shouldn’t be screened for pancreatic cancer

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) has released a statement recommending against screening for pancreatic cancer in asymptomatic adults.

According to the USPSTF, a systematic review to look for new evidence on the benefits and harms of screening produced “no evidence” that screening improves disease-specific morbidity or mortality.

The “D” grade means imaging-based methods such as CT, MRI and EUS should not be used in the screening population.

“Pancreatic cancer is an uncommon, but devastating disease with low survival rates, even in those detected at early stages,” said Task Force member Chyke Doubeni, MD, MPH, in a prepared statement. “Unfortunately, at the present time, screening for pancreatic cancer in people without any signs or symptoms would cause more harm than good and therefore should not be done.”

The current recommendation reaffirms the USPSTF’s 2004 recommendation against screening for pancreatic cancer in asymptomatic adults. However, the statement published in JAMA noted, these guidelines don’t apply to high-risk individuals.

“Clinicians need to be able to find pancreatic cancer earlier in its development, when it is more treatable,” said Task Force member Chien-Wen Tseng, MD, MPH, MSEE. “The Task Force is calling for more research on effective and accurate screening tests that can detect pancreatic cancer earlier and that lead to fewer harms.”

There are no organizations that currently recommend screening for pancreatic cancer in asymptomatic adults, according to the USPSTF statement.