People diagnosed with acute pancreatitis are more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, according to a new study published in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
Previous studies have shown a higher incidence of pancreatic cancer in patients diagnosed with acute pancreatitis, however it was unknown the rate that acute pancreatitis precedes a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and the time between the two diagnoses.
“Our study demonstrates that there is a much higher risk of pancreatic cancer in patients with acute pancreatitis than commonly believed,” said principle investigator Banke Agarwal, MD, associate professor of gastroenterology and hepatology at St. Louis University. Researchers hope the finding may eventually lead to some pancreatic cancers being treated earlier.
Because there are no screenings for pancreatic cancer and few early warning signs, the disease is usually diagnosed at an advanced stage, making it one of the most deadly forms of cancer. Only four percent of people with pancreatic cancer live five years or more after diagnosis.
Risk factors for acute pancreatitis include autoimmune problems, blockage of the pancreatic ducts due to gallstones, high triglycerides or injury to the pancreas from an accident.
Some drugs have also been linked to acute pancreatitis, such as the widely prescribed type 2 diabetes drugs Byetta and Januvia. These medications are currently under review by both U.S. and European drug regulators based on studies that have linked the drugs to pancreas inflammation leading to acute pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.
Source: News Medical