Imaging of Pancreatic Tumors

Monogr Clin Cytol. 2020:26:21-33. doi: 10.1159/000455731. Epub 2020 Sep 28.


Imaging plays a key role in the diagnosis and staging of pancreatic tumors. Imaging modalities utilized for the evaluation of pancreatic tumors include: transabdominal and endoscopic ultrasound, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging. Each of these modalities has different strengths and weaknesses which must be considered in the setting of evaluating a pancreatic tumor. Imaging can determine if a pancreatic tumor is cystic or solid and help develop a differential diagnosis based on the lesion's imaging features. If a malignant pancreatic tumor is diagnosed, imaging can assist with initial staging by determining the size and local extent of the tumor as well as evaluating for nodal and metastatic disease. Here we review the different imaging modalities utilized to evaluate pancreatic masses, describe the key imaging features of the most significant entities in the differential diagnosis, and describe the diagnostic imaging approach.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Endoscopic Ultrasound-Guided Fine Needle Aspiration*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Pancreas / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pancreas / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed