Purpose: To evaluate the accuracy of spiral computed tomography (CT) in assessing the resectability of small pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and to correlate the CT findings with histopathologic and surgical findings.
Materials and methods: Spiral CT scans obtained in 64 patients who underwent surgery for potentially resectable pancreatic adenocarcinoma were prospectively assessed for tumor resectability. CT findings were correlated with surgically assessed extent of tumor and pathologic findings.
Results: Fifty-seven (89%) of 64 carcinomas were detected with spiral CT. Twenty-four carcinomas were resectable at surgery and 40 were not. The average size of resectable tumors was 3.1 cm (range, 1.0-7.5 cm). The overall accuracy of spiral CT for assessing resectability was 70%. Of resected tumors, 14 were hypoattenuating compared with the remaining pancreas and 10 were isoattenuating. Eleven tumors showed neointimal proliferation in arterioles at histologic examination.
Conclusion: Further progress in preoperative staging of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma with spiral CT should be directed toward improving detection of small pancreatic tumors and assessment of early metastatic disease.