Model-based screening for pancreatic cancer in Sweden

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Background: Detecting pancreatic cancer at an earlier stage may contribute to an increased survival. Patients with stage I pancreatic cancer have a 5-year survival rate of 36%, while stage IV patients have a 5-year survival rate of 1% in Sweden. Research into novel blood-based biomarkers for pancreatic cancer is highly intensive and innovative, but has yet to result in any routine screening test. The aim of this study was to evaluate the specificity and sensitivity of a hypothetical blood test for pancreatic cancer used for screening purposes and the economic aspects of testing. Method: A model of a screening test was created, with varying specificity and sensitivity both set at 80%, 85%, 90%, 95% or 99% and applied to selected risk groups. Excessive costs of false positive screening outcomes, QALYs, ICERs and total costs were calculated. Results: Individuals with family history and genetic mutations associated with pancreatic cancer, new-onset diabetes ≥50 years of age and early symptoms had the highest positive predictive values and ICERs beneath the willingness-to-pay-level of EUR 100,000/QALY. Screening of the general population and smokers resulted in a high rate of false positive cases and extensive extra costs. Conclusions: General screening for pancreatic cancer is not cost-effective, while screening of certain high-risk groups may be economically justified given the availability of a high-performing blood-based test.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Cancer and Oncology


  • biomarkers
  • economic burden
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • screening
  • Sweden


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