, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 429-435
Date: 01 Aug 2008

Preoperative evaluation of pancreatic adenocarcinoma

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Abstract

The preoperative evaluation of resectability for pancreatic cancer fails to identify up to 25% of patients who are unfortunately found to be unresectable at surgical exploration. Inoperative findings in this circumstance is usually due to either small volume metastatic disease or regional tumor invasion. While advances in computed tomography (CT) technology has increased accuracy of local tumor extent, occult metastatic disease remains a common problem. Although 2-[18F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) has been demonstrated to be useful in the staging of many malignancies (e.g. esophageal cancer, recurrent colorectal cancer, lung cancer), it has not been found to significantly increase the accuracy of determining resectability preoperatively in pancreatic cancer, especially with regard to detection of small volume metastatic disease. There are a variety of pancreatic cancer-specific antigens which are being developed as a method for targeted molecular imaging; we provide preliminary data targeting the integrin αvβ6 to demonstrate the potential feasibility of this approach. Further developments may allow the accurate determination of patients with resectable pancreatic cancer, and more importantly, those with unresectable disease that may forego unnecessary surgery, the associated morbidity, and the subsequent delay of appropriate therapy.