MRI and MRCP for Diagnosis and Staging of Pancreatic Cancer

  • Eric P. Tamm
  • Aparna Balachandran
  • Priya R. Bhosale
  • Leonardo P. Marcal
Reference work entry


Pancreatic cancer is a challenge for imaging. Close attention to technique is necessary to optimize the contrast between this type of tumor, which is typically ill-defined, and the normal-enhancing pancreatic parenchyma to optimize the ability to identify the disease. Tumor is best visualized on fat-suppressed T1-weighted images and on the pancreatic parenchymal phase of dynamic gadolinium-enhanced imaging, but liver metastases and venous involvement by tumor are best seen on the portal venous phase of a dynamic enhanced imaging technique. Also important is the knowledge of the differential diagnosis for pancreatic cancer, which includes chronic pancreatitis, lymphoma, and metastases. Thin and thick sections MRCP imaging are useful to provide a comprehensive overview of biliary and pancreatic ductal anatomy and to evaluate intraductal pathology. The knowledge of the anatomy of the common hepatic artery, celiac artery, superior mesenteric artery, portal vein, superior mesenteric vein, and the splenic artery and vein is necessary to understand local staging and can be well depicted with current 3D dynamic techniques. Issues in staging that need to be understood are assessing the extent of circumferential involvement of arteries, patency of venous structures, and extent of venous involvement. MRI also has a very useful role in the identification of liver metastases, and several new developments such as liver specific contrast agents have improved MRI’s accuracy in this regard.


Pancreatic Cancer Chronic Pancreatitis Pancreatic Duct Main Pancreatic Duct Superior Mesenteric Vein 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric P. Tamm
    • 1
  • Aparna Balachandran
    • 1
  • Priya R. Bhosale
    • 1
  • Leonardo P. Marcal
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Diagnostic RadiologyM.D. Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

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