Clinical Predictors of Pancreatic Carcinoma Causing Acute Pancreatitis

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ObjectivesAcute pancreatitis may be the first presentation of pancreatic carcinoma (PaCa). The present study was designed to identify clinical findings suggestive of PaCa in patients with nonalcoholic nongallstone-related (NANG) acute pancreatitis and evaluate accuracy of endoscopic ultrasound for diagnosing PaCa in this setting.MethodsThis is a retrospective analysis of 332 consecutive patients who underwent endoscopic ultrasound–fine-needle aspiration after acute pancreatitis. Patients with gallstones or common bile duct stones, who were heavy or binge alcohol drinkers, or who had post–endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography pancreatitis were excluded.ResultsAmong 218 patients with NANG acute pancreatitis, 38 patients had PaCa. Age more than 50 years (P = 0.008), history of smoking (P < 0.001), weight loss of 10 lb or greater (P = 0.003), serum bilirubin levels of higher than 2 mg/dL (P = 0.035) or serum alkaline phosphatase level of higher than 165 U/mL (in patients with normal serum bilirubin levels) (P = 0.003), and radiological findings of an identifiable pancreatic mass (P = 0.001) or distal pancreatic atrophy (P = 0.006) had significant association with an underlying PaCa on multivariate analysis. Of the 38 patients with PaCa in this cohort, 37 had 2 or more of these findings. Endoscopic ultrasound–fine-needle aspiration had 99.5% accuracy (98.6, 100%) for diagnosing carcinoma in this clinical setting.ConclusionsThe clinical criteria defined previously potentially can help select patients with NANG acute pancreatitis with a higher likelihood of an underlying pancreatic neoplasm for further imaging.

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