Surgery for pancreatic cancer: critical radiologic findings for clinical decision making.
Abdom Radiol (NY). 2018 Feb;43(2):374-382. doi: 10.1007/s00261-017-1332-z. Fonseca AL1, Fleming JB2.
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, with an estimated 53,670 new cases diagnosed and an estimated 43,090 deaths in 2017. This high mortality rate is in part due to the small percentage of patients diagnosed with local disease, as well as the biologically aggressive nature of the disease. While only 10-20% of patients will present with surgically resectable disease, this is the only possible curative therapy. Five-year survival of resected pancreatic cancer ranges from 12 to 27%. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines recommend specific guidelines for imaging modalities used in the diagnosis and staging of pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Indeed, high-quality imaging is not only necessary to accurately stage the disease, but is critical for the determination of key clinical decision branch points such as the determination of surgical resectability. Identification of the lesion within the pancreas, the degree of extra-pancreatic extension, and potential involvement of surrounding vascular structures with the tumor are all findings necessary to classify patients as having resectable, borderline resectable, or with unresectable primary tumors. This article reviews imaging modalities used to evaluate the pancreatic cancer patient from the surgeon's perspective, with particular emphasis on determination of resectability and preoperative planning, as well as imaging in the postoperative period.