CA19-9 as a Screening and Diagnostic Tool in Symptomatic Patients: The Japanese Experience

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Although the prognosis for pancreatic cancer is generally poor, the Japanese Pancreatic Cancer Register reported in 1992 that the survival rate for resected pancreatic cancer was much higher than that for more conservative treatment. T1 and T2 pancreatic tumors are much more frequently resectable than are T3 and T4 tumors, and the 5-year survival rate for unresected T2, T3, and T4 cases is 0%. These findings emphasize the importance of early diagnosis of resectable pancreatic cancer. CA19-9 has shown satisfactory sensitivity in detecting advanced pancreatic cancer; we sought to determine the effectiveness of CA19-9 as part of a screening program for early cancer. Using elastase 1, CA19-9, and ultrasonography, we developed and tested a program of mass screening on persons presenting with and without abdominal complaints.

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