Technologies for imaging the normal and diseased pancreas

Gastroenterology. 2013 Jun;144(6):1262-71.e1. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2013.01.076.


The prognosis is poor for most patients with pancreatic cancer, chronic pancreatitis, or other pancreatic diseases. Advances in pancreatic imaging could help identify these diseases at earlier stages, when they are easier to treat. Radiographic imaging and endoscopic imaging of the pancreas have progressed from the abdominal roentogram and endoscopic retrograde pancreatography to multi-detector computed tomography, magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography, endoscopic ultrasonography, and pancreatoscopy. These technologies have improved the diagnosis and treatment of benign disease but have not significantly increased our ability to detect early-stage disease or affect outcomes of patients with pancreatic cancer or chronic pancreatitis. Advances in endoscopic imaging and molecular-based radiographic tests could allow physicians to identify pancreatic lesions and their precursors at earlier stages. Furthermore, research studies that include these tools could improve our understanding of disease pathogenesis and identify diagnostic markers and therapeutic targets. We review endoscopic imaging modalities, focusing on new endoscopic and molecular-based radiographic imaging tests that have the potential to substantially improve diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde
  • Diagnostic Imaging* / methods
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Endosonography
  • Humans
  • Molecular Imaging
  • Pancreas* / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreas* / pathology
  • Pancreatic Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Pancreatic Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreatic Diseases / pathology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Severity of Illness Index