Risk factors, biomarker and imaging techniques used for pancreatic cancer screening
Pancreatic cancer (PC) is one of the most lethal epithelial malignancies. There have been many attempts aimed at improving survival rates; however, the fatality of PC has been attributed to its few, nonspecific and diverse symptoms that delay diagnosis, rapid metastatic progression and overall treatment resistance. The aggressive nature of PC has stimulated interest in detecting smaller asymptomatic cancers or precursor lesions that are more likely to be curable. This review discusses potential risk factors including lifestyle and genetic variables that are believed to be the most important in contributing to the development of PC. In addition, we focus our review on emerging literature to compare and contrast current screening strategies including biomarkers and imaging modalities with regards to detecting early PC. It is hoped that in the future, biomarker development will be supported by novel techniques in medical imaging that are currently being developed and tested to ultimately lead to earlier detection and increased cure for this fatal disease.