Purpose: To evaluate the use of dual-phase helical computed tomography (CT) (with or without CT angiography) to assess resectability in patients suspected to have pancreatic cancer.
Materials and methods: Tumor resectability was prospectively evaluated in 89 patients who later underwent surgery for suspected pancreatic cancer. Helical CT scans were obtained in the vascular phase and a phase of maximal hepatic enhancement. CT angiograms were produced with multiprojection volume reconstruction and maximum-intensity projection. CT results were correlated with surgical and histopathologic results.
Results: Helical CT allowed detection of pancreatic cancer in 74 of 76 cases (97%). There were six false-positive results (positive predictive value, 92%). For prediction of irresectability, helical CT had an accuracy of 91%, negative predictive value of 79%, and sensitivity of 91%. Helical CT allowed detection of liver metastases in 21 of 28 cases (75%), nodal involvement in 13 of 24 cases (54%), and vascular invasion in 35 of 40 cases (88%). CT angiography demonstrated 30 of the 35 cases of vascular invasion detected with helical CT (86%).
Conclusion: Use of dual-phase helical CT improves prediction of resectability in patients with pancreatic cancer. CT angiography cannot show all of the findings seen on helical scans.