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Hepatobiliary Pancreat Dis Int. 2009 Oct;8(5):457-64.

Computed tomography in diagnosing vascular invasion in pancreatic and periampullary cancers: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Department of General Surgery, Renji Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200127, China.



Preoperative diagnosis of local vascular invasion is very important to the selection of therapeutic protocols and prediction of the prognosis of pancreatic and periampullary cancers. This meta-analysis was designed to evaluate the accuracy of computed tomography (CT) in diagnosing vascular invasion in patients with pancreatic and periampullary cancers.


English-language articles reporting diagnostic accuracy of CT for vascular invasion in pancreatic and periampullary cancers were searched from the MEDLINE and PubMed databases. A meta-analysis was conducted to estimate pooled sensitivity, specificity, likelihood ratios, and diagnostic odds ratios.


Data were extracted from 18 studies that met the inclusion criteria. The pooled sensitivity and specificity of CT in diagnosing vascular invasion were 77% and 81%. Since CT technology improved in different periods, in the recent five years (2004-2008) CT has shown a higher diagnostic accuracy, and the pooled sensitivity and specificity increased to 85% and 82%, respectively. Subgroup analysis of CT studies was made to determine the involvement of different vessels, and the pooled sensitivities for the invasion of the venous system, portal vein, and arterial system were 75%, 75%, and 68%, and the pooled specificities were 84%, 91%, and 92%, respectively. For CT imaging with vascular reconstruction, the pooled sensitivity and specificity were 84% and 85%, higher than the estimates in studies without reconstruction.


Developed CT technology with vascular reconstruction is used as an imaging modality for diagnosing vascular invasion at present. Further combined application of various imaging modalities may improve the accuracy of diagnosis, especially for smaller vessel involvement, such as the superior mesenteric vein or artery, which are difficult to demarcate.

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