FRIDAY, May 13, 2022 (HealthDay News) — In the year prior to pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) diagnosis, patients present with gallstone disease six times more often than the general population, according to a study presented at the 2022 Digestive Disease Week, held from May 21 to 24 in San Diego.

Marianna Papageorge, M.D., from the Boston Medical Center, and colleagues used data from Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare (2008 to 2015) to identify 18,700 patients with PDAC. Incidence of hospital visits for gallstone disease (cholelithiasis or cholecystitis) and cholecystectomy in the year prior to cancer diagnosis was assessed.

The researchers found that 4.7 percent of PDAC patients had gallstone disease and 1.6 percent underwent cholecystectomy in the year prior to diagnosis. From a noncancer cohort (99,287 annually), 0.8 percent had gallstone disease per year and 0.3 percent underwent cholecystectomy per year. Compared to patients without gallstone disease, PDAC patients with gallstone disease were diagnosed at an earlier disease stage (stage I to II) (40.5 versus 47.9 percent) and a higher proportion underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy (12.9 versus 17.6 percent).

“Improving differential diagnosis strategies may help combat the high mortality rate in PDAC by providing an opportunity for earlier stage of diagnosis and earlier intervention and treatment in these patients,” the authors write.

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