JOURNAL ARTICLE

Differentiating pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma from pancreatic serous cystadenoma, mucinous cystadenoma, and a pseudocyst with detailed analysis of cystic features on CT scans: a preliminary study

Peijie Lv, Radfan Mahyoub, Xiaozhu Lin, Kemin Chen, Weimin Chai, Jing Xie
Korean Journal of Radiology: Official Journal of the Korean Radiological Society 2011, 12 (2): 187-95
21430935

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether or not detailed cystic feature analysis on CT scans can assist in the differential diagnosis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) from serous cystadenoma (SCN), mucinous cystadenoma (MCN), and a pseudocyst.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study received Institutional Review Board approval and informed patient consent was waived. Electronic radiology and pathology databases were searched to identify patients with PDAC (n = 19), SCN (n = 26), MCN (n = 20) and a pseudocyst (n = 23) who underwent pancreatic CT imaging. The number, size, location, and contents of cysts, and the contour of the lesions were reviewed, in addition to the wall thickness, enhancement patterns, and other signs of pancreatic and peripancreatic involvement. Diagnosis was based on lesion resection (n = 82) or on a combination of cytological findings, biochemical markers, and tumor markers (n = 6). Fisher's exact test was used to analyze the results.

RESULTS: A combination of the CT findings including irregular contour, multiple cysts, mural nodes, and localized thickening, had a relatively high sensitivity (74%) and specificity (75%) for differentiating PDAC from SCN, MCN, and pseudocysts (p < 0.05). Other CT findings such as location, greatest dimension, or the presence of calcification were not significantly different.

CONCLUSION: The CT findings for PDAC are non-specific, but perhaps helpful for differentiation. PDAC should be included in the general differential diagnosis of pancreatic cystic neoplasms.

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