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FDG-PET is able to detect pancreatic carcinoma in chronic pancreatitis

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European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Aims and scope Submit manuscript



2-(18F)-Fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) is an imaging technique which enables detection of malignancies. FDG-PET has been established as a tool for the diagnosis of pancreatic carcinoma (CA). Early detection is mandatory as cure can only be achieved in non-advanced disease. This is, however, very difficult with conventional radiological techniques. Patients with chronic pancreatitis (CP) are at risk of developing CA. A simple, reliable screening method for malignant degeneration is highly desirable. We set out to investigate whether FDG-PET is able to detect CA in the setting of CP and can fulfil a potential role in the early detection of CA in CP.


FDG-PET was performed in 77 CP patients and in six patients with CP complicated by CA (CP + CA). We included 26 CA patients as a positive control. A positive scan was defined as focal FDG accumulation in the pancreas region.


In 67 of the 77 CP (87%) patients, pancreatic FDG accumulation was absent. Six patients had significant accumulation. In CA, 24/26 patients had a positive PET. Five out of the six patients with CP + CA had focal uptake, while minor uptake was seen in one patient. FDG-PET was positive in almost all CA patients and CP + CA patients. FDG-PET was negative in the large majority (87%) of CP patients, which suggests that a positive PET scan in CP patients must lead to efforts to exclude a malignancy.


These data suggest that FDG-PET has a potential role as a diagnostic tool for detecting CA in longstanding CP.

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Correspondence to Mariëtte CA van Kouwen.

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CA van Kouwen, M., Jansen, J.B., van Goor, H. et al. FDG-PET is able to detect pancreatic carcinoma in chronic pancreatitis. Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging 32, 399–404 (2005).

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