The diagnostic value of routine chest computed tomography (CT) in addition to abdominal CT in workup for pancreatic head carcinoma is unclear. The aim of this study was to determine if routine chest CT revealed significant lesions that altered the management of patients with suspected pancreatic head carcinoma.
All Dutch pancreatic cancer centers were surveyed on the use of chest CT in preoperative staging. In addition, a single-center retrospective cohort study was performed including all patients referred with suspected pancreatic head malignancy without chest CT between 2005 and 2016. The primary end point was the proportion of patients in which chest CT revealed clinically significant lesions, leading to a change in management.
In 7 of 18 Dutch pancreatic cancer centers (39%), a preoperative chest CT is not routinely performed. In the study cohort, 170 of 848 patients (20%) were referred without chest CT and underwent one by local protocol. Chest CT revealed new suspicious lesions in 17 patients (10%), of whom 6 had metastatic disease (3.5%).
Routine use of chest CT in diagnostic workup for pancreatic head carcinoma reveals clinically significant lesions in 10% of patients, being metastases in up to 4%.