Intraductal Papillary Mucinous Neoplasm of the Pancreas as the Main Focus for Early Detection of Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma

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For early detection of pancreatic cancer, interests are now focused on the detection of high-risk individuals to undergo screening examinations. Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN) is a unique dual precursor of pancreatic cancer, characterized by progression to invasive cancer and the development of pancreatic adenocarcinoma either concomitantly (synchronous occurrence) or even after resection of IPMN (metachronous occurrence). Careful examination and surveillance of patients with IPMN may therefore lead to early detection of pancreatic cancer. By reviewing only reports describing detailed breakdown of the morphological types of IPMN and numbers of patients with noninvasive and invasive carcinoma in each type, the rough frequencies of noninvasive carcinoma in main duct IPMNs and branch duct IPMNs (BD-IPMNs) are 20% and 10%, respectively, and those of invasive carcinoma are 40% and 13%, respectively. Roughly 5% of all patients with IPMN had concomitant adenocarcinoma. The real frequency of carcinoma in BD-IPMNs would be far lower because most patients with small asymptomatic BD-IPMNs do not undergo resection. Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm can be the main focus for early detection of pancreatic cancer to achieve favorable prognosis after surgical resection. The optimal protocol for surveillance and method for early detection of pancreatic cancer are to be determined.

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