Diagnosis and staging of pancreatic adenocarcinoma with dynamic computed tomography

Am J Surg. 1993 May;165(5):600-6. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9610(05)80443-x.


We assessed the accuracy of dynamic contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) in the diagnosis and staging of 213 patients with pancreatic carcinoma and compared it with the accuracy of angiography and surgery. A correct CT diagnosis of pancreatic carcinoma was made in 207 of 213 (97%) patients. Tumors were located in the pancreatic head in 64%, the body in 22%, and the tail in 10%, and enlarged the pancreas diffusely in 4%. CT staged 25 (12%) patients as having potentially resectable tumors and 188 (88%) as having unresectable tumors on the basis of local extension (72%), contiguous organ invasion (43%), vascular invasion (82%), and distant metastases (50%). Compared with angiography in 60 patients, CT detected vascular invasion missed on angiography in 20%, and angiography detected invasion missed by CT in 5%. In these latter cases, other CT criteria of unresectability were present, and angiography provided no significant staging information. Compared with surgery in 71 patients, CT accurately predicted unresectable tumors in 100% of patients and resectable tumors in 72% of patients. Eleven of the patients with CT-resectable tumors underwent resection. Median survival was 22.7 months, with four patients alive at a median of 15.5 months postoperatively. Palliative resections were performed in six patients, and median survival was 14.4 months.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Adenocarcinoma / secondary
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery
  • Angiography
  • Humans
  • Laparotomy
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*