Differentiating a chronic hyperplastic mass from pancreatic cancer: a challenge remaining in multidetector CT of the pancreas

Eur Radiol. 2003 Dec:13 Suppl 5:M42-9. doi: 10.1007/s00330-003-2100-8.


A multitude of clinical symptoms originate from pancreatic inflammatory or neoplastic processes due to their highly complex composition, function, and anatomic relationships to adjacent organs as well as the heterogeneous patterns of vascular perfusion and neural innervation of the pancreatic gland which complicate an early and precise diagnosis. Whereas early assessment of inflammatory or neoplastic pancreatic processes is a prerequisite for a successful curative approach, the classical radiologic signs of chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic carcinoma show significant similarities. This article provides an overview of the pathogenesis and imaging findings in chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, including some new approaches for visualizing the subtle but distinct differences between these two entities.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Hyperplasia / diagnostic imaging
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Pancreas / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreas / pathology
  • Pancreatic Ducts / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pancreatitis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*