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  • Small (≤ 20 mm) Pancreatic Adenocarcinomas: Analysis of Enhancement Patterns and Secondary Signs with Multiphasic Multidetector CT

    Radiology: Volume 259: Number 2-May 2011

    Soon Ho Yoon, MD Jeong Min Lee, MD Jae Yoon Cho Kyung Bun Lee, MD Ji Eun Kim, MD Seung Kyoung Moon, MD Soo Jin Kim, MD Jee Hyun Baek, MD Seung Ho Kim, MD Se Hyung Kim, MD Jae Young Lee, MD Joon Koo Han, MD Byung Ihn Choi, MD

    Purpose: To evaluate the enhancement patterns, prevalence of second­ary signs, and histopathologic features of 20-mm-diameter or smaller pancreatic cancers seen on multiphasic multidetector computed tomographic (CT) images.

    Materials and Methods: This retrospective study was approved by the institutional re­view board; the requirement for informed consent was waived. From January 2002 through September 2009, the authors re­viewed the clinical and imaging data of 130 consecutive patients (76 men, 54 women; mean age, 64.1 years; age range, 28-82 years) who had surgically proven 30-mm-diameter or smaller pancreatic cancers and underwent preoperative multidetector CT and 33 consecutive patients (17 men, 16 women; mean age, 65.1 years; age range, 48-84 years) who had histopathologi-cally proven pancreatic cancer and underwent incidental multi­detector CT before the diagnosis was rendered. Only pancreatic phase CT was performed in two patients, and only hepatic ve­nous phase CT was performed in nine patients. Two radiologists in consensus classified the tumor attenuation as hyper-, iso-, or hypoattenuation during the pancreatic and hepatic venous phases. Accompanying secondary signs, temporal changes in tu­mor attenuation, and histopathologic findings also were analyzed. The Fisher exact test, x2 test, generalized estimating equation, and Student t test were used to compare the variables.

    Results: Seventy tumors were 20 mm or smaller, and 93 were 21-30 mm. Isoattenuating pancreatic cancers were more commonly ob­served among the 20-mm or smaller tumors (16 of 59, 27%) than among the 21-30-mm tumors (12 of 93, 13%) (P = .033). They were also more common among well-differentiated tu­mors (seven of 12, 58%) than among moderately differentiated (20 of 124, 16%) and poorly differentiated (one of 10, 10%) tumors (P = .001). The prevalence of secondary signs differed significantly according to tumor size (53 [76%] of 70 ≤20-mm tumors vs 92 [99%] of 93 21-30-mm tumors) (P < .001). The prevalence of secondary signs was high among isoattenuat­ing pancreatic cancers (14 [88%] of 16 ≤20-mm tumors vs all 12 [100%] 21-30-mm tumors). Most of the isoattenuating tumors seen at prediagnostic CT were hypoattenuating after 6 months (100% [four of four] during pancreatic phase, 71% [five of seven] during hepatic venous phase).

    Conclusion: The prevalence of isoattenuating pancreatic cancers differed sig­nificantly according to tumor size and cellular differentiation. Most small isoattenuating pancreatic cancers showed secondary signs.