The prognosis of patients diagnosed with pancreatic adenocarcinoma remains dismal. Of the 15-20 % of patients who are candidates for potentially curative resection, 66-92 % will develop recurrent disease. Although guidelines for surveillance in the postoperative setting exist, they are not evidence based, and there is wide variability of strategies utilized. Current surveillance guidelines as suggested by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) include routine history and physical, measurement of serum cancer-associated antigen 19-9 (CA19-9) levels, and computed tomographic imaging at 3- to 6-month intervals for the first 2 years, and annually thereafter. However, the lack of prospective clinical data examining the efficacy of different surveillance strategies has led to a variability of the intensity of follow-up and a lack of consensus on its necessity and efficacy. Recent therapeutic advances may have the potential to significantly alter survival after recurrence, but a careful consideration of current surveillance strategies should be undertaken to optimize existing approaches in the face of high recurrence and low survival rates.
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