Ductal adenocarcinoma in the head of the pancreas (PDAC) is usually unresectable at the time of diagnosis due to the involvement of the peripancreatic vessels. Various preoperative classification algorithms have been developed to describe the relationship of the tumor to these vessels, but most of them lack a surgically based approach. We present a CT-based classification algorithm for PDAC based on surgical resectability principles with a focus on interobserver variability.
Thirty patients with PDAC undergoing pancreaticoduodenectomy were examined by using a standard CT protocol. Nine radiologists, representing three different levels of expertise, evaluated the CT examinations and the tumors were classified into four categories (A-D) according to the proposed system. For the interobserver agreement, the Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC) was estimated.
The overall ICC was 0.94 and the ICCs among the trainees, experienced radiologists, and experts were 0.85, 0.76, and 0.92, respectively. All tumors classified as category A1 showed no signs of vascular invasion at surgery. In category A2, 40% of the tumors had corresponding infiltration and required resection of the superior mesenteric vein/portal vein (SMV/PV). One of two tumors in category B2 and two of three in category C required SMV/PV resection. All six patients in category D had both arterial and venous involvement.
There is almost perfect agreement among radiologists with different levels of expertise in regards to the local staging of PDAC. For tumors in a more advanced preoperative category, an increased risk for vascular involvement was noticed at surgery.
2013. Vol. 13, no 6, 570-575 p.