Staging of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma with spiral CT and MRI

Rays. 2001 Apr-Jun;26(2):151-9.


Detection of pancreatic adenocarcinoma is crucial for accurate staging both with spiral CT and dynamic MRI; consequently an accurate technique is required and so-called pancreatic phase is recognized as the best one for tumor conspicuity. For vascular involvement optimal results have been achieved in assessing unresectability; vein involvement seems more difficult to be defined as it is sustained by a different spread compared to arterial involvement. Grading of vessel circumference contact represents the best tool in "venous" staging, but shape deformation and collateral veins dilation are also important signs. Lymph node staging is less accurate, lacking in specificity, but spiral CT demonstrated better results if compared with dynamic MRI. Assessment of liver metastases has been improved by the advent of spiral CT and dynamic contrast enhanced MRI, while peritoneal staging seems to be unaffected. In conclusion, both spiral CT and dynamic contrast enhanced MRI are accurate in pancreatic adenocarcinoma staging, mainly for vessels and liver involvement; no definite differences have been established, because only a few studies have compared them both with state-of-art techniques. Therefore standardized multicentric trials are desirable. Up to now, the choice of which technique to employ should be based on local expertise; moreover, the aggressive approach of surgical equipes should be kept in mind.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / blood supply
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / diagnostic imaging
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / pathology
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*