Optical coherence tomography compared with histology of the main pancreatic duct structure in normal and pathological conditions: An 'ex vivo study'

P. A. Testoni, B. Mangiavillano, L. Albarello, A. Mariani, P. G. Arcidiacono, E. Masci, C. Doglioni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and study aims: Optical coherence tomography permits high-resolution imaging of tissue microstructures by a probe inserted into the main pancreatic duct through a standard ERCP catheter. The aim of this study was to compare optical coherence tomography images of the main pancreatic duct with histology and identify the optical coherence tomography pattern of the normal and pathological structure of the main pancreatic duct. Patients and methods: Multiple sections of neoplastic and non-neoplastic segments of 10 consecutive surgical pancreatic specimens obtained from patients with pancreatic head adenocarcinoma were investigated by optical coherence tomography scanning within 1 h of resection. One hundred optical coherence tomography findings were then compared with the corresponding histopathological diagnoses. Results: Main pancreatic duct wall architecture appeared at optical coherence tomography investigation as a three-layer structure with a different back-scattered signal from each layer. Optical coherence tomography imaging was concordant with histology in 81.8% and 18.75% of sections with normal tissue and chronic inflammatory changes. The K statistic between the two procedures was equal to 0.059 for non-neoplastic main pancreatic duct wall appearance. In all neoplastic sections optical coherence tomography showed a subverted layer architecture with heterogeneous back-scattering of the signal and was concordant with histology. Conclusions: Optical coherence tomography provided images of main pancreatic duct wall structure that were concordant with histology in 100% of cases in presence of neoplastic ductal changes and did not have false-positive or negative results. Optical coherence tomography images were also concordant with histology in about 80% of cases with normal main pancreatic duct structure; however, the differential diagnosis between normal tissue and chronic pancreatitis or dysplastic changes appeared very difficult.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)688-695
Number of pages8
JournalDigestive and Liver Disease
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2006


  • Histology
  • New techniques
  • Optical coherence tomography
  • Pancreas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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