Preoperative imaging evaluation after downstaging of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma: A multi-center study

Alessandro Beleù, Angela Calabrese, Giulio Rizzo, Paola Capelli, Nicolò Bellini, Simona Caloggero, Roberto Calbi, Paolo Tinazzi Martini, Riccardo De Robertis, Giovanni Carbognin, Giovanni Marchegiani, Aldo Scarpa, Roberto Salvia, Claudio Bassi, Mirko D’onofrio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Evaluation of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) after chemoradiotherapy downstaging is challenging due to computed tomography (CT) overestimation of tumor extension and residual vascular involvement, limiting access to surgery to some patients with potentially resectable tumors. With this study, we wanted to assess which radiological findings are most reliable at pre-operative imaging in the evaluation of PDAC after chemoradiotherapy in order to achieve complete resection. Methods: We retrospectively enrolled 71 patients with locally advanced and borderline resectable PDAC who underwent neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy. Pre-operative CT or magnetic resonance (MR) have been evaluated by three radiologists to assess major qualitative and quantitative parameters of lesions. Accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity compared to anatomopathological results were evaluated for each parameter. Cohen’s K-coefficient has been calculated to evaluate the inter-observer agreement (IOA). Both single and consensus lecture have been tested. Different dimensional cut-offs were tested to categorize tumors according to their major axis and to compare with anatomopathological diameter, tumor persistence, and margin infiltration. Results: A 25 mm cut-off was 67% sensitive, 90% specific, and 77% accurate in assessing real tumor dimension. 25 mm cut-off reported a 64% sensitivity, 78% specificity, and 69% accuracy in assessing R0 resection. Each 5 mm increment of major axis dimension there is an odds ratio (OR) 1.79 (95% CI 1.13–2.80, p = 0.012) for R+ resection. Imaging presence of the perivascular cuff is not associated with tumor persistence and resection margin infiltration (p = 0.362). Lesion enhancement and pattern homogeneity were not accurate in determining tumor persistence. IOA was generally poor to fair, except for >25 mm cut-off classification where IOA was moderate. Diagnostic accuracy is superior in consensus lecture rather than single lecture. Conclusion: Imaging methods tend to underestimate PDAC resectability after neoadjuvant-CRT. IOA is poor to fair in evaluating most of the qualitative parameters of downstaged pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Surgery should be considered for downstaged borderline resectable PDACs, independently from perivascular cuff presence, especially for tumors smaller than 25 mm.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberE267
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Chemotherapy
  • CT
  • Downstaging
  • Pancreas
  • Pancreatic cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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