Background: Preoperative diagnosis of pancreatic adenocarcinoma can be difficult. Computed tomography (CT) is the standard, noninvasive imaging method for evaluation of suspected pancreatic adenocarcinoma, but it has limited sensitivity for diagnosis, local staging, and metastases. Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and fluoro-deoxyglucose/positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) are imaging methods that may improve diagnostic accuracy.
Methods: Thirty-five patients with presumed resectable pancreatic adenocarcinoma were prospectively evaluated with helical CT, EUS, and FDG-PET.
Results: Sensitivity for the detection of pancreatic cancer was higher for EUS (93%) and FDG-PET (87%) than for CT (53%). EUS was more sensitive than CT for local vascular invasion of the portal and superior mesenteric veins. EUS diagnosis of vascular invasion was associated with poor outcome after surgery. EUS-guided, fine-needle aspiration allowed tissue diagnosis in 14 of 21 attempts (67%). FDG-PET diagnosed 7 of 9 cases of proven metastatic disease, 4 of which were missed by CT. Two of three metastatic liver lesions suspected by CT were indeterminate for metastases. FDG-PET confirmed metastases.
Conclusions: EUS and PET improve diagnostic capability in pancreatic adenocarcinoma. EUS is useful in determining local vascular invasion and obtaining tissue diagnosis. FDG-PET is useful in identifying metastatic disease. Both techniques are more sensitive than helical CT for identification of the primary tumor. (Gastrointest Endosc 2000;52:367-71).