Precursors of pancreatic cancer

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Pancreatic cancer (PC) behaves very differently in comparison with other malignancies. Its incidence has been increasing continuously; mortality has not decreased, the diagnosis is frequently late, radical surgery is performed only in 15–20% of patients, and chemotherapy is only palliative. PC occurs in three different forms. Sporadic PC accounts for 90% of all PCs. Its most frequent form is the pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. The remaining 10% constitute two minority groups: familial PC (7%) and PC as a manifestation of a genetic cancer syndrome (3%). PCs are preceded by a precancerous lesion (precursor). At present, six different precursors are known. They have different histomorphological characteristics and malignant potential. The recognition and correct interpretation of individual precursors influences adequate clinical decision-making. The publication surveys the present knowledge of individual precursors and their role in the early pancreatic carcinogenesis.

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