PURPOSE: To assess the value of arterial, pancreatic, and hepatic phase imaging at multi-detector row computed tomography (CT) of the pancreas for pancreatic malignancy. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirty-nine patients suspected of having resectable pancreatic adenocarcinoma underwent triple-phase multi-detector row CT. Images obtained during each phase were interpreted by one radiologist who evaluated presence of tumor, vascular invasion, and flow artifacts in the superior mesenteric vein and measured attenuation of tumor, normal pancreas, aorta, and superior mesenteric vein. Results were compared with histologic, follow-up, and correlative imaging findings. RESULTS: Mean tumor-to-gland attenuation difference was greatest on images obtained in the pancreatic phase (42 HU) versus that on those obtained in the hepatic phase (35 HU) and in the arterial phase (25 HU). For tumor detection, sensitivity of the images obtained in pancreatic (0.97 [29 of 30]) and hepatic (0.93 [28 of 30]) phases was superior to that of those obtained in arterial phase (0.63 [19 of 30]) (P ≤ .008). For vascular invasion detection, sensitivity of images obtained in the hepatic phase (0.83) was better than that of those obtained in the pancreatic (0.58) and arterial (0.25) phases. Images obtained in the pancreatic phase demonstrated more flow artifacts and decreased attenuation in the superior mesenteric vein, compared with the artifacts revealed on images obtained in the hepatic phase. CONCLUSION: Routine acquisition of images in the arterial phase is unnecessary for detection of pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Images of the pancreas obtained in the hepatic phase with multi-detector row CT most accurately display vascular invasion.
- Computed tomography (CT)
- Multidetector row
- Phase imaging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging