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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 125

of 'Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and staging of exocrine pancreatic cancer'

Chest computed tomography in the staging of pancreatic and periampullary carcinoma.
Nordback I, Saaristo R, Piironen A, Sand J
Scand J Gastroenterol. 2004 Jan;39(1):81-6.
BACKGROUND: Staging of the tumours in the pancreas and periampullary region usually consists of abdominal computed tomography (CT). Laparoscopy is also advocated. Little attention has been paid to extra-abdominal staging. In addition to peritoneal, lymphatic and hepatic metastases, lung metastases are frequently found. The chest CT scan has been demonstrated as better than the plain chest roentgenogram or conventional tomography in demonstrating lung tumours. This study was done to evaluate whether the chest CT scan gives information additional to the plain chest roentgenogram in the staging of pancreatic and periampullary tumours.
METHODS: Fifty-three patients with a pancreatic or periampullary tumour underwent helical CT scan of the chest in addition to the abdominal CT scan. The CT scans and the chest roentgenograms were read separately without the result of the other being known; the results were compared with each other and with the clinical and operative findings.
RESULTS: In the chest CT scan, 7 out of 53 (13%) patients had nodules in the lungs. The chest pathologies were not seen in the chest roentgenogram except for pneumonia in one patient and lung tumours in another (sensitivity of the chest roentgenogram 2/7 = 29%). Liver metastasis, local invasion of the tumour or poor general condition of the patient made lung biopsy or bronchoscopy unnecessary or impossible.
CONCLUSION: Lung metastases seldom appear in patients with pancreatic or periampullary carcinoma without other contraindications for resection, which is why the chest CT scan cannot be recommended in the staging of these tumours for operation.
Dept of Surgery, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland. isto.nordback@tays.fi